Federal Work Study Program

This program provides funds that are earned through part-time employment to assist students in financing the costs of postsecondary education.

Sponsor: Department of Education


Federal Work-Study (FWS) allocations are made to eligible institutions for the purpose of providing part-time employment to needy undergraduate and graduate students attending participating institutions. Institutional allocations are based on institutional requests for program funding under a statutory formula. Under the funding formula, funds are distributed to institutions, first, on the basis of the institution's base guarantee plus the pro rata share received during the 1999–2000 award year under the FWS Program and, then, on the basis of the aggregate need of the eligible students in attendance. Employers of FWS recipients must contribute 25 percent of the funding (except in the case of private, for-profit organizations, which must match 50 percent, and in the case of established criteria for which the matching requirement is waived). The U.S. Department of Education encourages colleges and universities to use FWS Program funds to promote community service activities. Students can receive FWS funds at approximately 3,400 participating postsecondary institutions. Institutional financial aid administrators at participating institutions have substantial flexibility in determining the amount of FWS awards to provide to students who are enrolled or accepted for enrollment.

Students are not eligible to apply directly for Federal Work Study; this is an institution-based program.
How to Apply

Institutions of Higher Education may apply for an allocation of funds to be awarded to undergraduate, vocational, and graduate students enrolled or accepted for enrollment at participating schools. For information, contact the Federal Student Aid Information Center:
Tel. (800) 433-3243 or (800) 4FED-AID