Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program

Current Section  Purpose
Applicant Info
 Office of Federal Student Aid Home

CFDA Number: 84.033
Program Type: Formula Grants
Also Known As: Formerly known as College Work-Study Program

Program Description

The FWS Program provides funds for part-time employment to help needy students to finance the costs of postsecondary education. Students can receive FWS funds at approximately 3,400 participating postsecondary institutions. Hourly wages must not be less than the federal minimum wage.

A participating institution applies each year for FWS funding by submitting a Fiscal Operations Report and Application to Participate (FISAP) to the U.S. Department of Education. Using a statutory formula, the Department allocates funds based on the institution’s previous funding level and the aggregate need of eligible students in attendance in the prior year. In most cases, the school or the employer must pay up to a 50 percent share of a student’s wages under FWS. (In some cases, such as FWS jobs as reading or mathematics tutors, the federal share of the wages can be as high as 100 percent.)

Students may be employed by: the institution itself; a federal, state, or local public agency; a private nonprofit organization; or a private for-profit organization. Institutions must use at least 7 percent of their Work- Study allocation to support students working in community service jobs, including: reading tutors for preschool age or elementary school children; mathematics tutors for students enrolled in elementary school through ninth grade; literacy tutors in a family literacy project performing family literacy activities; or emergency preparedness and response.

Students must file a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as part of the application process for FWS assistance. The FAFSA can be completed on the Web at http://www.fafsa.ed.gov. For more information on the student aid award process, see the Federal Pell Grant Program (# 84.063, also under topical heading Federal Student Aid).

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Last Modified: 04/17/2014