Federal Work Study Programs to Help Earn Money & Pay for College

Federal Work Study Program

FWS - Federal Work Study

The federal government provides funding to over 3,400 colleges to employ students part-time to help offset college costs. In order to receive Federal Work Study (FWS), a student must complete the FAFSA, have financial need, be awarded funds and find a qualifying job on or, in some cases, off campus.

Because funds are made available on a first come, first served basis, it is important to apply for financial aid early. FWS is earned through work performed and is credited to the student in the form of a paycheck. Your hours will be limited to the amount you have been awarded by the FWS program, and you will earn at least the federal minimum wage for the work you perform.

Whenever possible, the work will be related to your field of study, but it is not always the case. 

Because federal work study hours are limited, you may be interested to know that some colleges offer work study funds or make work available to students who do not qualify for FWS. Most of these schools will include this allocation in a student's award letter and need is usually not a requirement to receive funding.

Check with your college's financial aid office to see if these funds are available or if on-campus work is available to students who do not qualify for FWS.

Work study is meant to be utilized to pay for incidentals ranging from food to toiletries to transportation. If you receive work study in your financial aid award letter, remember that these funds will not be applied to your tuition bill.