University of South Carolina

Financial Aid & Scholarships

Federal Work-Study Info for Employers

Information about the Federal Work-Study Program is divided into six different sections:

General Information

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program began as the College Work-Study Program (CWS) in 1964, providing part time employment for students from low income families. The scope of the Federal Work-Study has expanded, but the goal remains the same: to give qualified students part time jobs to defray the costs of education and provide work experience that can augment the student's educational experience.

The FWS Program is a financial aid program. To qualify, students must apply for and receive a financial aid award that includes Work-Study. The award is the maximum amount students may earn from Work-Study jobs during an academic year. These awards are disbursed to the students in the form of bi-monthly paychecks, the costs shared by the Federal Government and the employer. The Federal Government's share is 75% for on-campus employers with the departments paying 25%. A limited number of off-campus employers pay 10% with the Federal Government paying 90%. Off-campus employers pay an additional 5% administrative cost and a .6% workers compensation fee.

Work-Study offers intelligent, motivated college students to qualified agencies at a fraction of payroll costs. This allows you to provide more services without drastically increasing your expenses.

FWS students are employees of the university. This means most of the paperwork is handled by the USC Payroll and financial aid office, not by you. By following a few simple procedures and using the forms supplied by our office or located online, you will find the FWS Program an easy and efficient way to hire enthusiastic students.

Perhaps the greatest benefit from your participation in Work-Study is the opportunity to make a better future for these special USC students. .

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USC Work-Study students work in a wide array of jobs both on and off campus and for both public and private, nonprofit agencies. However, there are some restrictions on the type of tasks Work-Study students can perform. For example, Work-Study students may not be used to displace full-time employees. Additional restrictions on Work-Study employment follow.

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Currently, the vast majority of Work-Study students work on campus in various departments of the university, as long as the work performed is in the public interest. Work-Study students may NOT participate in USC's for profit activities (i.e., rental of athletic fields, auditoriums, theaters, or parking lots).

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Students are encouraged to work off campus with both public (federal, state and local) and private, nonprofit employers. However, there are certain activities strictly prohibited by federal law. Work-Study students may NOT work:

  • for the U.S. Department of Education
  • for limited membership organization (e.g. credit union, fraternal or religious order, cooperatives)
  • in the construction, operation or maintenance of any part of a facility used for religious purposes.
  • in any political activity
  • in any activity that involves lobbying at the federal, state or local level.
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For on campus departments and agencies, becoming a part of the Work-Study program is as easy as picking up the telephone. Simply contact the USC Federal Work-Study Assistant in the Financial Aid Office (777-3216).

For off campus agencies, the first step in becoming a USC Federal Work-Study employer is to complete a contract with the University. This contract details the relationship between your agency and your employees, as well as your relationship with USC.

All Work-Study students are considered employees of USC. The University bills off-campus employers each month for their portion of their Work-Study employees payroll expenses. Work-Study employee paychecks are issued by the USC Payroll office. Students are required to enroll in direct deposit of their paychecks. Enrollment for direct deposit can be completed in VIP. A tutorial demonstrating the VIP direct deposit enrollment process is available here.

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We regularly post important information to our Federal Work-Study List Serv lists. If you are an on campus employer, we encourage you to subscribe to the on campus work study employer listserv. You can subscribe to this listerv by sending an email to with the following information in the body of the email:


If you are an off campus employer, we encourage you to subscribe to the off campus work study employer list serv. You can subscribe to this listerv by sending an email to with the following information in the body of the email:


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