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Federal Work-Study Program Provides Income and Work Experience

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By Ryan Laspina
Senior Specialist, Red Flags and External Reviews at APUS  

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a needs-based aid program that provides you with an opportunity to earn income while you attend school. It is a form of Federal Student Aid (FSA) that some schools participate in.

Qualifying for the Federal Work-Study Program

Here is some essential information to know about FWS:

  1. You must fill out a FAFSA for the award year during which you will be attending school.
  1. FWS is available to undergraduate, graduate and even professional students. You must demonstrate need based on your Cost of Attendance (COA), less your Expected Family Contribution (EFC).
  1. Both part-time and full-time students are eligible for this program.
  1. On-campus and off-campus jobs are available and can be found by working with your school’s financial aid office. FWS jobs usually focus on community or civic education, and most schools try to find jobs that are related to your course of study.
  1. FWS programs are required to pay you no less than the current federal minimum wage. Some programs may pay more, depending on your employment position.
  1. Schools are required to pay you at least once a month. Undergraduate students are paid on an hourly rate. Graduate and professional students may be paid either on an hourly rate or by a salary.
  1. The number of hours you can work in a FWS program are limited. You cannot exceed your FWS award package, which will be determined by your school’s financial aid office.
  1. Not all schools participate in the FWS program. The FWS program is much more common at brick-and-mortar schools than at online universities and community colleges, which typically do not offer FWS.

Benefits of the Federal Work-Study Program

FWS is a beneficial program for several reasons. It gives you a chance to earn income during school, and it minimizes the need to obtain and pay off loans.

Additionally, FWS is a great resume builder. You gain valuable work experience while you’re still in college.

Contact Financial Aid for More Information

If you are interested in FWS, contact the Financial Aid Office to find out if your school participates in this program. Ask about the opportunities the school offers.

American Public University System (APUS) does not offer FWS as an option at this time. APUS does participate in other FSA programs, including the Federal Pell Grant and the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program. 

Susan Hoffman is a Managing Editor at APU Edge, whose articles have appeared in multiple publications. Susan is known for her expertise in blogging, social media, SEO, and content analytics, and she is also a book reviewer for Military History magazine. She has a B.A. cum laude in English from James Madison University and an undergraduate certificate in electronic commerce from American Public University.

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