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    Federal Work-Study: What You Need To Know

    Unlike other federal aid listed in your award letter (loans and grants, for instance), you don't borrow or receive work-study money—you earn it. And that means you can spend it on your educational expenses how you want to.
    By Ashley Norwood - Updated: April 4, 2018

    What You'll Learn

    • How federal work-study works.
    • Who is eligible for this type of aid.
    • How much funding you can receive.
    Woman looking through microscope

    Federal work-study (FWS) is a form of federal financial aid that funds part-time jobs for enrolled students. This allows students to earn money for their educational and living expenses, while also helping them gain real-world experience related to their course of study.

    If you are eligible for FWS, this option will be included in your financial aid award letter. However, unlike a federal loan or grant, the amount you receive for FWS will not be deducted directly from your balance at your school. Instead, you will need to find a job on campus or an eligible off-campus job and earn that money by working.

    Who Is Eligible For FWS?

    Undergraduate and graduate students with financial need may be awarded FWS.

    How Do You Get FWS?

    Like other forms of federal financial aid, you will need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to see if you're eligibile for FWS. If you go to a school that participates in the FWS program, its financial aid office will determine if you have financial need and award FWS funds if they are available.

    How Much FWS Can I Get?

    The amount you can receive will depend on your school's FWS funding—which can be limited. Most schools award FWS funds to students with financial need on a first-come, first-served basis. So, if you are interested in this option, be sure to apply for financial aid as early as possible.

    What Kinds Of Jobs Are Available?

    FWS jobs can be on or off campus. Your school offers on-campus jobs, and the options include more than just the dining hall (not that there's anything wrong with food service!). It's possible to work in about any department at your college—as long as they have a position open. Search early in the semester (jobs may even be posted during the summer before the fall term starts) to help ensure you get a posting you want.

    Off-campus jobs are typically restricted to private nonprofit organizations or public agencies where the work is considered to be good for the public. These organizations have to set up employment agreements with your school, so you can't just get a job with a nonprofit and expect to get FWS money to fund the position.

    It is also possible for schools to have agreements with private for-profit organizations, but the jobs offered must be as relevant to your course of study as possible.

    How Much Will I Get Paid?

    Your pay rate will depend on the job, but you have to make at least the federal minimum wage. Undergraduate students are paid by the hour. Graduate students may be paid by the hour or be salaried, depending on the type of work they're doing.

    Also, while your FWS award will list a specific dollar amount, you are not guaranteed to earn that much money. It is up to you to apply for an FWS position, get the job, and work the hours. If you don't work, you don't get your FWS money. If you use up your available FWS funding, check with your school's financial aid department to see if more money is available. If it isn't, all hope (and your job) isn't lost—your employer can opt to pay you with their own budget/funding.

    What Can I Use FWS Earnings For?

    The money you earn through your FWS job is like money you'd earn through any job—it's yours to spend on your education-related expenses, including living expenses, how you want to. Unlike other federal aid, FWS money doesn't go directly to your student account to pay down your balance (unless your school has given you that option and you said yes). So while you can still use it to cover your school costs, you don't have to.

    Can I Work Part Time Instead?

    Absolutely! Potentially, you could have a work-study position and a part-time job, provided you can balance both with your schoolwork. Not all on-campus jobs require work-study funding, though some offices may prefer FWS candidates because they're paid via federal student aid and not their department's budget.

    Off-campus jobs are open to anyone, and they won't limit the amount you can earn like FWS does. However, those jobs may make you work more and/or later hours than you want (FWS hours are often limited), and the employers may not be as flexible regarding your class schedule and other needs as a student. Part-time work can also affect how much financial aid you qualify for in the future, which FWS won't.

    Programa federal de trabajo-estudio: Lo que necesitas saber

    A diferencia de otra asistencia federal descrita en tu carta de asignación (préstamos y subvenciones, por ejemplo), con este programa no pides prestado ni recibes dinero por trabajo-estudio, lo ganas. Esto significa que puedes usarlo para tus gastos educacionales de la forma en que quieras.
    Por Ashley Norwood - Actualizado: 1 agosto 2017

    Lo que aprenderás

    • Cómo funciona el programa federal de trabajo-estudio.
    • Quién es elegible para este tipo de asistencia.
    • Cuánto financiamiento puedes recibir.
    Woman looking through microscope

    El programa federal de trabajo-estudio (FWS, por sus siglas en inglés) es una forma de asistencia financiera federal que financia trabajos de medio tiempo para estudiantes matriculados. Esto permite que los estudiantes ganen dinero para sus gastos educativos y diarios al tiempo que se les ayuda a ganar experiencia laboral real relacionada con su programa de estudio.

    Si eres elegible para el FWS, esta opción se incluirá en tu carta de asignación de asistencia financiera. Sin embargo, diferente a un préstamo o subvención, la cantidad que recibas para el FWS no se deducirá directamente de tu saldo en tu escuela. Por el contrario, necesitarás encontrar un empleo en el campus o un empleo elegible fuera del campos y ganar ese dinero con tu trabajo.

    ¿Quién es elegible para el FWS?

    Los estudiantes de grado o de posgrado con necesidades financieras podrían recibir FWS.

    ¿Cómo se obtiene el FWS?

    Como otras formas de ayuda federal para estudiantes, necesitarás completar la Solicitud Gratuita de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes (FAFSA) para ver si eres elegible para el FWS. Si asistes a una escuela que participa en un programa FWS, su oficina de ayuda financiera determinará si tienes necesidad financiera y asignará los fondos de FWS si están disponibles.

    ¿Cuánto FWS puedo obtener?

    La cantidad que puedes recibir dependerá del financiamiento de FWS de tu escuela, que puede ser limitado. La mayoría de las escuelas otorgan los fondos FWS para estudiantes con necesidad financiera a los primeros estudiantes que lo soliciten. Entonces, si te interesa esta opción, asegúrate de solicitar la asistencia financiera lo más pronto posible.

    ¿Qué tipo de trabajos están disponibles?

    Los empleos FWS pueden ser dentro o fuera del campus. Tu escuela ofrece empleos en el campus y hay más opciones que en la cafetería (¡aunque no tiene nada de malo de trabajar en la cafetería!). Es posible trabajar en cualquier departamento en tu universidad, siempre que exista un puesto vacante. Busca al principio del semestre (los empleos podrían publicarse durante el verano antes de que inicie el periodo de otoño) para que te asegures de obtener el empleo que deseas.

    Los empleos afuera del campus típicamente están restringidos a organizaciones sin fines de lucro o agencias públicas en las que se considera que el trabajo es para el bien público. Estas organizaciones deben establecer acuerdos con tu escuela para que puedas obtener un trabajo con una organización sin fines de lucro y recibir dinero de FWS para financiar el puesto.

    También es posible que las escuelas tengan acuerdos con organizaciones privadas con fines de lucro pero los empleos ofrecidos deben estar mayormente relacionados con tu programa de estudio.

    ¿Cuánto me van a pagar?

    Tu tasa de pago dependerá del trabajo pero tienes que ganar, por lo menos, el salario mínimo federal. Los estudiantes de grado reciben pago por hora. Los estudiantes de posgrado pueden recibir pago por hora o pueden ser asalariados, según el trabajo que estén haciendo.

    Asimismo, a pesar de que tu asignación de FWS prevé una cantidad específica de dólares, no se garantiza que ganarás ese dinero. Depende de ti solicitar un empleo para el programa FWS, obtener un trabajo y trabajar las horas. Si no trabajas, no obtendrás tu dinero del programa FWS, tan sencillo.

    ¿Para qué puedo usar mis ganancias del FWS?

    El dinero que ganes con tu trabajo FWS es como el dinero que ganarías en cualquier otro trabajo, es tuyo para que lo uses en tus gastos educacionales, incluido tus gastos diarios, conforme desees. A diferencia de la asistencia federal, el dinero de FWS no va directamente a tu cuenta de estudiante para pagar tu saldo (a menos que tu escuela te haya dado la opción y tú la aceptes). Entonces, a pesar de que puedes usarlo para cubrir los costos de la escuela, no estás obligado a hacerlo.

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