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Federal Work Study FAQ

What is Federal Work-Study?

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a federally funded program which gives students with financial need an opportunity for part-time employment. This employment is intended to allow students to earn money to help pay for their educational expenses. The FWS program encourages students to gain valuable career-related experience as well as promotes community-service employment opportunities.

A work study award is an option to work, not a requirement or a guaranteed job.  Students with work study eligibility may apply for any UW-Eau Claire student employment position - whether the position is a work study position or a university-funded position.

How do I become eligible for the Federal Work-Study program?

To become eligible for FWS, you must first demonstrate financial need by filling out the Federal Application for Student Aid (FAFSA).  If a student is eligible to earn FWS, the amount of eligibility will be listed in Self-Service. 

How do I locate a Federal Work-Study job?

While the Financial Aid office cannot guarantee you a federal work study job, we do provide you with currently available job postings.  The postings from the Job Board may also be viewed on the Financial Aid office's Web page.

According to university policy, all open student employment positions (both work study and non-federal) should be posted on the Student Employment Job Board.

Students are also encouraged to apply directly to administrative offices and academic departments in which they have an interest in working. It is often useful for students to specify that they are eligible for a work study position.

The Financial Aid office also sponsors a job fair, which is generally held the opening week of the fall semester. Many students find employment positions through this fair.

How much can I earn in the FWS program?

The maximum students may earn under the FWS program is the amount of their FWS award. All FWS positions are assigned a job classification with a corresponding wage range. Job classifications begin at minimum wage and go up from there. A student's FWS allocation and how much they earn per hour will determine how many hours a student can work in a semester or academic year.

How many hours can I work?

When determining hours per week, an employer will consider the student's FWS allocation, class schedule, and the needs of the employer.  Students may not earn more in Work Study than their Federal Work Study award for the academic year.

How will I be paid?

Students are paid hourly for the work they perform. Timesheets are submitted to Payroll biweekly by the employer. Students will have their payments directly deposited to their savings or checking accounts. Direct deposit forms can be completed by accessing

What happens once I have earned my Federal Work-Study allocation?

Students are responsible for ensuring that they do not earn over their work-study allocation. Employers are sent an Earnings Comparison Report after every payroll is run to monitor student earnings. A collaborative effort should be made by both the student and the employer to track earnings. When a student finds they are getting close to earning their total FWS allocation, they should come to the Financial Aid office to inquire about the possibility of increasing their FWS allocation. However, once the full FWS allocation is earned, employers have the option of either switching students to Non-federal student employment or letting you go. Students may not work beyond their FWS allocation.

What if I have a job off-campus or I do not want to work while going to school?

A work study award is an option to work, not a requirement.  If a student choses not to work, no additional action is necessary.  Students who do not want to work under work study may apply for additional loan, if they have not yet reached their maximum loan borrowing limit for a particular year.