Federal Work Study Policies

When you apply for financial aid you may be offered federal work-study as part of your institutions financial package.  Federal work-study is a program funded partially by the federal government to provide a source of income for students. Work-study is granted to students as part of their financial aid package, which means that students must apply for aid by filing a FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form.  Federal work-study jobs are often related to community service or academic service related to a student’s studies. Federal work-study policies give access to jobs on and off campus for both undergraduate and graduate students.

Federal work-study policies are very clear cut in terms of who is eligible to work in the program.  The federal work-study policies allow both part-time and full-time students to work in part-time positions while enrolled in higher education, whether it is undergraduate, vocational, professional, or graduate school. The program is available through most institutions of higher education; check with your school’s financial aid department for details on how to participate.

Earnings in the federal work-study program begin at minimum wage, but federal work-study employees may earn a higher rate of pay depending on the skill set required for the job and the student’s qualifications.  The federal work-study policies dictate the maximum amount of total earnings a student can earn through the program.

Federal work-study policies create incentive for employers to hire student workers by subsidizing the wages of the students in the program.  A student is granted a maximum amount of earnings in her financial aid package.  Upon being hired into a federal work-study job, the student earns a portion of her wages from the federal government, and the remaining wages from the employer. Once a student has achieved her cap of earnings in an academic year, the employer becomes responsible for paying the full wage to students.

Employers hiring work-study students are held to federal work-study policies that require employers to take into account the student’s academic schedule and progress.  Students must maintain academic standards in order to retain their work-study jobs. Students are never permitted to miss class in order to be at a federal work-study job.  Federal work-study policies require strict adherence to class attendance policies and academic standards.

The work-study program is set up to provide access to employment but also to provide experience in work related to the student’s academic endeavors.  Federal work-study policies allow for schools to partner with nonprofit organizations, public agencies, private employers, and for-profit employers when the work being done by the student is in line with the student’s studies.  These positions are usually off-campus.  Federal work-study policies dictate that the student job be geared towards public works benefiting the public at large. Most work-study work, however, is on campus.  The work students do on campus is for the school they attend and supports the infrastructure of academic units, research, and on-campus services.

Federal work-study policies are upheld by employers and overseen by both your school’s administration and the federal work-study administration.  Access to federal work-study positions is made easy through your school’s financial aid offices.  When filing your FAFSA form, be sure to check that you are willing to participate in the federal work-study in order to maximize your access to federal aid.

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