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Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides part-time jobs for undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study. 

The first step to receive Federal Work-Study is to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Students with financial need may be offered Federal Work-Study. If the student chooses to accept FWS, then they can begin their job search with the campus Financial Aid Office. The student and their employer will determine the student’s work schedule. We understand that a student’s priority must be their academic success, so work schedules are flexible.  

Earnings are not applied directly to the student’s tuition bill but are used at the student’s discretion to cover educational costs such as books, transportation, food, and housing. Students normally work less than 20 hours a week and may earn up to $5000 per academic year. 

To be considered for Federal Work Study, take the following steps each academic year:

  • Complete your FAFSA each year!
  • Notify the Financial Aid Office of any changes in your family’s financial circumstances.
  • Notify the Financial Aid Office of any changes in your enrollment status.
  • To avoid losing eligibility in the future, be sure that you do not earn more than the predetermined Federal Work-Study offered amount 

The amount of Federal Work-Study you are offered is limited to your cost of attendance, the aid you have already received (such as grants and scholarships), and your financial need. The student and their employer should compute how many hours a student is able to work at his or her wage rate to determine the student's schedule for the year.  

Any funds not earned at the end of the academic year will be forfeited and do not carry over to the next year. Students are responsible for monitoring their own earnings to ensure compliance. If the student exceeds the FWS amount, 100 percent will be charged to the employer’s account. Students should be aware that their FWS amount might be decreased during the academic year because of the receipt of outside resources (e.g., scholarships). If a student’s financial circumstances change, increases to FWS may be made. Both the student and employer will be notified if FWS is adjusted. 

Before you can begin to work at your on- or off-campus Federal Work Study job, the Financial Aid Office must add you to the university’s WebHire System. The Financial Aid Office will tell you your start date after all your forms are processed and approved for hire. Usually, a student will be able to begin on a Monday after being approved, and an electronic time sheet is created.
Available Federal Work-Study jobs are listed on the campus websites (listed below). You can also contact the campus Financial Aid Office for help in finding a position. 

Once a student has found a job in which they are interested, it is the student's responsibility to contact the employer and arrange an interview.

Once you are hired, you will need to complete the forms listed below before you can begin working. These forms are located within the Financial Aid Office of the campus you are attending. 
  • W-4
  • Form I-9 (Employment Eligibility Verification)
  • FWS Dress Code
  • FWS Confidentiality Agreement
  • FWS Employment Authorization
  • FWS On/Off Campus Contract
All hours must be recorded on a time sheet. Please see your supervisor for instructions on how to keep track and submit your work hours. The student should fill in the hours worked on the day that the work is performed in 15-minute increments (for example, 10 hours and 30 minutes should be recorded as 10.5 hours and 12 hours and 15 minutes should be recorded as 12.25 hours). All electronic time sheets must be approved by the supervisor to be processed. All electronic time sheets must be submitted to your supervisor by 12:00 noon every Friday to be paid on a timely basis. If the student works on the weekend, the student must submit the electronic time sheet to the supervisor by 9:00 a.m. on the following Monday. 

Students are paid on the 15th and the last day of the month. Please note: you will not receive your first paycheck until one month (two pay periods) after your first day of work. Please see the Hourly Employee Pay Schedule for paydays as well as weeks being paid.  

Paychecks are direct deposited. Click here to learn how to set up or make a change to your direct deposit. 

Yes. Students may elect to have their checks deposited into the bank account of their choice. Although a Direct Deposit form is available that can be filled out, printed, and sent to Payroll; the form can also be processed on-line. In order to make direct deposit changes online, see How to Submit or Change your Direct Deposit on-line
Usually, the depositing of your check into your bank account occurs the second pay period following completion of the direct deposit form. The reason your check is not deposited during the first payroll is to make sure deposit information is correct. The automatic depositing of your check will then occur on the second payroll following your completing the form. After the first pay day, instead of receiving a check, you will receive a "pay stub" indicating that your pay was deposited to the account you specified. 
Yes. Income earned through the Federal Work-Study Program is taxable. Therefore, each student must complete state and federal withholding forms and include their earnings on the appropriate tax returns. 

If your financial circumstances have changed and you would like to have your Federal Work-Study amount increased, you should contact the Financial Aid Office to ask how to appeal. 

Students who believe that their financial circumstances have changed since accepting the original package should contact the Financial Aid Office to appeal. Students who request an increase must document additional financial need. Please note that program regulations prohibit the determining of earnings based on an employer's need to retain a worker or a student's desire to work.

It is the expectation of the Financial Aid Office and all employers that, once hired, a student will stay in the position for an entire academic year (fall and spring semester). If the student is not satisfied with the position, we ask that the student attempt to work out any difficulties with their employer before requesting a transfer to another position. The Financial Aid Office can provide counseling for anyone experiencing difficulties with a job. If the problem cannot be resolved, the student may transfer to another job.  
Students are asked to dedicate a minimum of 10 hours of work per week to ensure that they reach their earnings by May. While it is possible to have more than one work-study job, no student may be employed in more than one department at any given time without prior permission from the Financial Aid Office. Permission is granted only if the student cannot reach their FWS amount limit through the present job or if the second position has greater relevancy to the student's career interests. 
Students may work during breaks. Income earned during these vacation periods will count toward the student's Federal Work-Study earnings limit. Students cannot work more than forty hours per week. 
During the summer, some Federal Work-Study positions are available. Students must receive prior approval from the Financial Aid Office and cannot work more than forty hours per week in these summer positions. Wages earned during the summer do not count against the student's academic year Federal Work-Study earnings limit. However, if the student is not enrolled at least half-time (6 or more credit hours) for the summer term, then the student must complete a Summer Non-Enrollment form and the summer Federal Work-Study earnings will be counted as a resource for the following academic year. 
Evaluation forms are sent to the employers in April. At that time, the students and the employer should set aside time for discussion of the student's work performance. Based on this evaluation, a student may receive a merit pay increase.
Federal Work-Study employees may obtain pay increases by three means:
  • Longevity: Students may receive a $.50 hourly pay increase for each year of continuous service with the same employer.
  • Merit: At the annual evaluation each spring, students may be awarded an hourly pay increase up to $.25 for meritorious service. This is an optional increase determined by the employer and becomes effective the following fall.
  • Reclassification: If a student has gained additional skills and responsibilities after time on the job, the student may be reclassified to a new position. An employer must provide documentation of the increased responsibilities, and the reclassification must be approved by the Financial Aid Office before it becomes effective.
All address changes should be made through your campus' Registrar's Office. 

The Federal Work-Study program encourages community service. Such jobs are likely located off-campus and are generally paid at a higher rate. Community Service is defined as services designed to improve the quality of life, especially for low-income residents, to include:

  • health care, child care, literacy training, education, welfare, social services, transportation, housing, safety, crime prevention and control, recreation, etc.
  • work in service opportunities or youth corps
  • support services for students with disabilities
  • "mentoring" (e.g., tutoring, counseling, supporting educational and recreational activities)

If you are interested in a community service position, contact the Financial Aid Office for help with job placement.

Please note that the Financial Aid Offices on the Palmetto College Campuses do not research the integrity of each employer located off campus. Therefore, you are urged to undertake this responsibility for yourself. Use caution and common sense when working in any position with an organization to avoid putting yourself in a vulnerable situation.

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