If you plan on filling out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you may be interested in a more active means of earning money towards your education. The Federal Work Study Program (FWS) may be the right move for you!
Who: The Federal Work Study Program is available to undergraduate and graduate students who qualify for financial aid. International or foreign students usually do not qualify for this program.
What: Students work part-time to help pay for their education. The money the student makes working is applied to the cost of classes, room and board, and supplies. At the very least, students earn federal minimum wage hourly. Often schools take into consideration the student’s area of study when accepting them for FWS and assigning a job.
Where: About 3,400 colleges and universities in the United States participate in the Federal Work Study Program.
How: Each participating college or university is given funding to supply to students in the FWS Program. The jobs available for students will vary depending on the institution. Many jobs are directly associated with the college or university, but there is a requirement that jobs through private employers in the local community be made available as well. In fact, 7% of the jobs available to students must be community service positions. Common jobs include administrative work in campus offices or tutoring children at neighboring schools.
Each school does have different restrictions on how it gives its students their earned funds. Additionally, some schools have a specific number of hours the FWS Program students must work. It is possible that if you are participating in the FWS Program and your grade point average falls below a certain number you will no longer be eligible for funding. If you receive financial aid from another source, that may change how much FWS aid you can get. Check with your school to find out exactly what restrictions it has on FWS students.
If you are interested in joining the FWS Program, be sure to indicate this on your FAFSA form! But keep in mind that sometimes the deadline for requesting to be part of FWS comes before the FAFSA deadline. Apply as early as possible to increase your chances of being accepted to this program and guarantee funding for your education. The colleges and universities involved have a limited amount of funding to use for students in the FWS Program.