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Federal Work Study
The Federal Work Study (FWS) Program is a subsidized student employment program. Note: While the name of the program may be deceiving, employees are expected to work (not study) while earning pay.
The student must:
- Demonstrate financial need as determined by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
- Be fully admitted as a degree-seeking student in an undergraduate or graduate program at ISU.
- Be enrolled a minimum of 6 credit hours.
- Maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress standards.
- Be a U.S. Citizen or eligible non-citizen.
- Not be in default on an educational loan or owe an overpayment on a federal education grant, or other federal debt, or has made satisfactory arrangements to repay that debt.
Based on the results of the FAFSA, eligible students are awarded an allotment that may be earned through part-time employment in FWS approved positions.
Note: The only way for students accepting their Federal Work Study award to receive the award amount is to get a job, work their assigned hours per week, and earn the funding. Students are strongly encouraged to begin the job search early. Popular Federal Work Study positions are highly sought after and tend to be filled quickly.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are the advantages of Work Study jobs?
Although a FWS job should be treated as any other job, it does have several distinct advantages:
- Students typically have the benefit of working in environments suited to their skills, preferences, and possible career goals in order to build a solid employment history.
- Students and Work Study employers arrange a work schedule around the class schedule.
- Work Study wages are not counted towards next year's Expected Family Contribution on the FAFSA.
Although the majority of FWS positions are located on campus, the program also offers a number of off-campus positions.
- How do I get a job?
Students must apply, interview, and be hired for jobs. Eligibility for FWS does not guarantee a job. Hiring is at the discretion of the supervisor.
- Search for Work Study jobs by visiting the Student Employment website or going to the Career Center at 231 N. Sixth Walkway (east of the fountain).
- Visit the Career Center Jobs Fair, held during Welcome Week at the beginning of the fall semester.
- Complete the FAFSA early so FWS eligibility confirmation can be made.
Students should provide the following to their employer:
- A copy of their Financial Aid Notification letter showing FWS eligibility (can be printed from the MyISU Portal)
- A copy of current and/or upcoming semester class schedule
When students accept FWS positions, they are making a commitment as an employee to that employer. Students are expected to stay for the length of the Work Study award period (usually two semesters), and are discouraged from changing jobs in the middle of the academic year.
- Can I change to a different Work Study job?
Just like any part-time job, the employee should complete the new job application, interview for the position, and, if selected, give his or her current employer at least two weeks notice before leaving.
- What if I do not get a job?
Some students have remaining loan eligibility in lieu of Federal Work Study. In addition, students should still consult the Student Employment website to research non-Work-Study jobs.
- How much will I be paid?
All jobs pay at least the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour. On-campus jobs pay at least $8.25/hr. Many pay more than that, especially for trained or skilled workers.
- Is Federal Work Study income taxable?
Yes, Work Study earnings are taxable income.
- How do I get my Work Study money?
Work Study students are paid bi-weekly. Late time sheets may delay the student's paycheck.
- Am I eligible for benefits?
No. Work Study students are not eligible for paid vacation, sick leave, holidays, or medical and dental insurance through their Work Study job.
- How many hours per week must I work?
Work schedules are to be determined by the student and employer. Students should never be scheduled to work during class time. Also, FWS students should never work more than 7.5 hours in one day or 20 hours in one week.
FWS is part of the financial aid package. Students may earn up to the amount of their award as listed on their Financial Aid Notification Letter per semester (maximum $2,500). The student and the employer should monitor earnings to be sure the award amounts are not exceeded.
- What happens when I reach my award maximum?
The department may either continue the assignment (therefore paying 100% from the departmental budget) or terminate the assignment.
- Will I get Work Study every semester while I attend Indiana State?
Work Study job eligibility is based upon timing of FAFSA filing, fund availability, and demonstration of financial need. As such, awards are subject to change at any time.
If a student's eligibility changes at any time during the award period, the FWS award (as well as any other financial aid awards) may be re-evaluated. See also overawards and external scholarships.
- Can my fall/spring Work Study award be used in the summer?
No, Work Study is not available during the summer.
- Rights and Responsibilities
By accepting a FWS position, students become members of a department or agency that depends on them. Students should report to work on time, notify the supervisor when they will be late or absent, and dress appropriately for the work location (dress code should be discussed during the interview). When asking for time off, students should consider the employer's needs as well as their own. In addition, some FWS positions may require access to confidential information. Abuse or misuse of such authorization is grounds for dismissal and other disciplinary actions.
If a problem develops on the job, the first point of contact should be the supervisor. If the problem cannot be resolved, the student should contact the Student Employment office. Quitting a FWS job should be a decision of last resort. There is no guarantee that the Work Study award can be replaced with another type of aid or that the student can secure another FWS position. Failure to follow expected policies and regulations may result in the cancellation of their Work Study award and the loss of their Work Study position. Acceptance of a position through Work Study implies a commitment to the employer for at least one semester or the time agreed upon during the interview process.
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