Federal Work-Study Questions and Answers
What is Federal Work-Study (FWS)?
Federal Work-Study is a program that partially funds jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need. Awards are based on need as determined by the FAFSA to help pay for college expenses.
How do I qualify for Federal Work-Study (FWS)?
FWS is based on the FAFSA. It will appear with your award package if you are eligible.
If I was originally awarded FWS and declined it but now I want to accept it, what should I do?
If you declined your FWS but now want to accept it, you must contact your Student Financial Services Counselor. Keep in mind you must still show financial need for the FWS, other aid you may have received including loans not part or your original FWS package may impact your eligibility.
Can FWS be deducted from the tuition bill?
FWS is earned as you work. It is paid to you in the form of a paycheck, not deducted from your bill.
How does a student get a job assignment?
FWS job openings are posted under “Current Jobs” on the Office of Student Employment webpage. You may contact the Office of Student Employment at 516-463-6782 for more information.
How much will students be paid an hour?
You will be paid at least the Federal minimum wage, but the amount may be higher depending on the type of work you do and the skill level required. If you are returning to the same position, you may receive a pay increase.
Are the jobs on campus or off- campus?
Jobs are available on campus and off-campus, but most are on campus.
What if a student earns all his/her FWS award before the award year is over? Can it be increased?
It may be possible to increase the FWS allotment if funds are available and if the student still has remaining eligibility. Contact your Student Financial Services Counselor to find out if your award can be increased.
Is FWS taxable income?
If a student earns enough income to file a tax return, it must be included as taxable income for federal and state purposes.
Do students have to report FWS earnings on the FAFSA?
Students must report FWS earnings on the FAFSA.
Do FWS earnings count against the student to get aid for next year? Does work study affect financial aid?
FWS earnings do not count against the student for the following year's federal financial aid. Even though students report FWS as part of their total income on the FAFSA, there is another place on the FAFSA where FWS earnings are reported separately and the FAFSA formula does not count that against the student.
How can students find out more specific information regarding student employment?
How can I get a Federal Work-Study Grant?
The first step in getting a Federal Work-Study Grant is to apply for financial aid. Filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) will establish eligibility for Federal Work-Study as well as other types of Federal financial aid. Be sure to indicate interest in Work-Study where the question is asked. Once the form is processed, you must return required supporting documents to the Office of Financial Aid. When everything is received, a Financial Aid counselor will review your file to determine your eligibility. This determination is then forwarded to the Office of Student Employment.
How do I know whether I have been awarded a Federal Work-Study Grant?
You will receive an Award Letter from Hofstra University indicating any financial aid you have been awarded. If you are eligible for Federal Work-Study, it will be listed with a dollar amount on the award letter. The dollar amount is the maximum a student may earn for the academic year on the Federal Work-Study Program. Summer Grants are awarded separately upon request if sufficient need exists. Students who do not qualify for Federal Work-Study can work on campus as an Undergraduate or Graduate Assistant. See a Student Employment counselor for further details.
You will receive an email when your financial aid package is posted online. Access your financial aid award through the Hofstra Portal to view your awards. If you are eligible for Federal Work-Study, it will be listed with a dollar amount. The dollar amount is the maximum a student may earn for the academic year on the Federal Work-Study Program. Summer Grants are awarded separately upon request if sufficient need exists. Students who do not qualify for Federal Work-Study can work on campus as an Undergraduate or Graduate Assistant. See a Student Employment counselor for further details.
Is there a Federal Work-Study job for every eligible student?
Unfortunately, no. Students are placed in jobs on a first-come, first-served basis once eligibility has been determined. Federal Work-Study funds are awarded to each school by the government, not directly to each student. Once the funds granted to the school for this purpose are earned by students, the government does not award additional funds until the following year. When awards are distributed, the school does not know how many students will actually choose to work or how many hours they will work, so more students receive awards than can work, to ensure that the funds are used. However, it has been our experience that most students who are interested in working as Federal Work-Study students are placed in jobs within the first two months of the academic year.
Do I have to work?
You do not have to work, but working is the only way you have access to the FWS money.
Must I accept the job offered to me?
You will have an opportunity to consider the jobs available at the time you want to start working. After interviewing with a department supervisor, you decide whether or not to accept the job. If you decide not to accept a job, you may consider other jobs which are available, on a first-come, first-served basis.
Am I paid to study?
Federal Work-Study jobs are real jobs with real responsibilities. You are paid to work. A few jobs may include time when you may read, but most do not.
If I don't use all the award money this year, can I use the Federal Work-Study funds I got this year to work next year? If I have FWS this year, will I have it next year?
Federal Work-Study is a form of financial aid and, like other forms of financial aid, may be used only in the year for which it was awarded. You must reapply for this, as well as all other types of aid, each year by filing the FAFSA by Febuary 15th at www.FAFSA.gov. There is no guarantee that you will receive FWS each year, as it is part of your total financial aid package and will be influenced by other types of aid you receive (including loans), family income and your non-Federal Work-Study income during the previous year. All of these items are variable and can impact your eligibility.
Can I return to the same FWS job each year?
If you are eligible for Federal Work-Study and want to return to the same department, you may return, assuming that the department wants you back. You must apply for financial aid each year and you must get the appropriate paperwork from the Office of Student Employment at the beginning of each year. You do not need new paperwork if you are continuing a job from fall to spring semester.