Federal Work Study Program

What is the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program and how does it work?

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is one form of financial aid offered to eligible University of Virginia students that is based on financial need and is earned through a student’s employment. It is a federal program administered by UVA’s Student Financial Services, which determines FWS eligibility and makes awards based on the student’s financial need.  Eligibility is also based on being a full-time student, enrolled in a degree program, enrolled in at least 12 hours in a term.  Student Financial Services automatically considers work-study awards for eligible undergraduate students once their completed FAFSA, CSS  Profile, and other requested documents are received. Graduate students must indicate their interest in FWS on their FAFSA.  Annual award amounts range from $1,000 to $4,000 for undergraduate students and up to $5,000 for graduate students.  Many job opportunities are available to eligible students. Under the UVA FWS Program, student wages are paid 75% from federal funds, and the remaining 25% of wages is paid by the student’s hiring department or approved off-Grounds employer.  

How do I determine my Federal Work-Study (FWS) award amount?

The actual amount of a student’s federal work-study award is available to view in the student’s SIS Student Center.  Students who are interested in obtaining a work-study position must also “accept” their work-study award in the SIS Student Center. The FWS award represents the maximum amount a student may earn for the academic year or award period. The actual amount earned depends on the hours worked each week and the pay rate established by the employer. A student may not earn more than his/her total FWS award. Once a student reaches the award limit, he/she must either stop working or obtain departmental approval to continue working. In the latter case, any wages earned above the FWS allocation will be paid 100% by the department.

How many hours am I eligible to work in order to earn my Federal Work-Study (FWS) award?

When school is officially in session, students normally work between 10 (most undergraduates) and 20 (most graduate students) hours per week—and may not work more than 20 hours per week (all students)—in all university jobs combined (as some students have multiple FWS positions). In some instances (with employer approval), students may elect to work up to 40 hours per week when school is not in session, during official university breaks. There is no work-study during the summer. 

Work schedules are arranged directly between students and their supervisors and/or hiring departments.  Again, the actual award amount earned depends on the hours worked each week and the pay rate established by the employer.  A guide to help with establishing weekly work schedules allowing for the full award to be earned is:  Divide the award amount by the hourly pay rate and then divide by the total number of eligible weeks per award period (this is 32 weeks for both Fall and Spring semesters together).  Thus, a student who has a $3,000 award for the entire academic year who is paid $8.76 per hour, would need to work approximately 342.47 hours to earn the full $3,000 award.  Spread out over 32 weeks, this equates to working approximately 10.70 hours per week during the academic year.

Where do I find a Federal Work-Study (FWS) job and how do I access the system?

All available work-study jobs are posted on Handshake, the career management system for the UVA Career Center.  It is accessible via Netbadge and on your first attempt to access the system, you will be prompted to Claim Your Account (same as Setup Account).  As you Claim Your Account,  you will notice that information already exists in your Handshake profile so it is recommended that you review all pre-loaded information to confirm its accuracy.   Some information, such as GPA, is not pre-loaded.   Many job opportunities on Handshake request a GPA when you apply, so you may opt to input your GPA into Handshake; however, as your GPA changes, you will need to keep this information current by updating it manually.  Please note that UVA does not use the “Work Study” field in Handshake to determine who can apply for Federal Work Study positions.  All students can apply; eligibility for these positions is determined outside of the application process.

How do I search and apply for a Federal Work-Study (FWS) job in Handshake?

Students can customize searches using keywords and filters. To get started, students will click Jobs on the left-hand navigation bar.  When prompted about what type of job you are seeking, select “On-Campus Job” and then “Charlottesville, VA” as the place to work.  To apply for the position, click "Apply Now", located on the right side of the screen when viewing a job description.  If you are having difficulty navigating Handshake, our Career Counselors can help you during any one-on-one appointment, or during our drop-in hours. Click here to see current part-time On-Grounds student jobs posted via Handshake. Please note that you will need to be logged into Handshake for this list to load.

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