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Federal Work Study

Student Eligibility

Federal Work Study (FWS), including Community Service Work Study (CSFWS), is a federally funded financial aid program awarded to students based on their eligibility determined by the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and other financial aid criteria. Funding for this program is limited. Students are awarded a specific amount, and the federal government subsidizes the wages to the employer. This means that the employer pays a portion of the wages and FWS pays the remaining portion.

The student is paid the agreed upon hourly wage. Jobs may be with on-campus departments or with off-campus community service agencies.

Many departments seek students with a work-study award because of budget constraints. Postings for such jobs will state that FWS is required. Students are allowed only one FWS assignment at a time (you can hold several jobs at the same time; however, only one can be FWS). Earnings beyond the award amount will be charged in full to your employing department. You and your employer should, therefore, anticipate your earnings based on the hourly rate and the number of hours you will have available to work. This will determine the best way to manage your FWS award. The amount of the FWS award that you earn and when you earn it is up to you. If, for example, you have a $2,000 award, you may earn $1,000 each semester or you may decide to earn only $800 in the fall and $1,200 in the spring. Note, however, that the award is not guaranteed.

If you choose not to work at all in the fall, your assignment will reflect the spring portion only.

For more information on financial aid and applying for FWS, contact the Office of Financial Assistance Services You can submit the FAFSA electronically through FAFSA on the Web.

Federal Work Study Highlghts

8 Things You Should Know About Federal Work Study from the U.S. Department of Education Blog

Additional Information on the Federal Work Study program:

  • A student must be enrolled full-time to participate in the FWS program. (Except during summer or vacation periods which do not require enrollment.)
  • A student may not work in a federal work study job without a work study award from the University of Miami's Office of Student Financial Assistance and Employment.
  • A student may not be assigned to a federal work study job until matriculation is completed.
  • A student is not eligible to earn work study funds until the payroll/personnel process has been completed in Workday.
  • No student may continue to work if dropping to less than full-time within a refund period. If the student drops after a refund period, the Office of Student Financial Assistance and Employment must be contacted.
  • A student may not perform any work under the FWS program during times the student is scheduled to be in class.
  • No student may earn over the federal work study amount awarded. Any employer allowing a student to work more than the award will be charged 100% for the amount over the limit.
  • Work hours must always be approved by the student employee's supervisor or the supervisor's designee.
  • It is a federal offense to falsify a FWS time report; therefore, all hours documented must be correct and true. Students will be referred to the Dean of Students for disciplinary measures if suspected of including false information on a time report. If a student is found guilty of falsifying information, the Office of Student Financial Assistance and Employment may cancel the student's financial aid award for the current year and all subsequent years.
  • In order to maximize their academic performance, students are discouraged from working more than 20 hours per week during a period of enrollment. However, a student may work a maximum number of 40 hours per week. If a student works more than 40 hours in one week, the employing department is responsible for paying time-and-half for all hours above 40. Federal work study funds will not cover overtime hours. Federal Work Study students may work for University of Miami departments or approved local community service agencies.

Community Service Work Study

The Community Service Federal Work Study Program encourages students who get work study funds to work for the community. Community services are provided through jobs with local nonprofit, governmental, and community-based organizations and are designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, particularly low-income individuals, or to solve particular problems related to their needs.

While most community service jobs are located off-campus, some jobs are located on-campus. Community service jobs are in fields such as health care, child care, literacy training, education (including tutorial services), welfare, social services, transportation, housing and neighborhood improvement, public safety, crime prevention and control, recreation, rural development, and community improvement, support services to students with disabilities, and activities in which students serve as mentors for such purposes as tutoring, supporting educational and recreational activities, and counseling, including career counseling.


What are the benefits of taking a Community Service position?    

  • You can help improve the quality of life for members of your community.    
  • You can earn your Federal Work Study funds.    
  • You will get paid at the same rate as or higher than conventional work study jobs.    
  • You will gain solid work experience in areas such as public service, psychology, education, administration, etc.    
  • You will acquire professional contacts in your community and school as well as networking opportunities.    
  • You will receive priority consideration for work study extensions whenever funds are available.
  • You can make a difference!

Summer Federal Work Study

There is a separate award for summer Federal Work Study (FWS). You don’t need to be enrolled in summer classes to qualify for the summer Federal Work Study Program. To be considered for summer federal Work Study, you must have completed Fall 2021 course registration as a degree-seeking student and have the 2020-2021 FAFSA on file.

Complete a Request for Summer Federal Work Study (Undergraduate) or a Request for Summer Federal Work Study (Graduate):

  • If you are not enrolled in at least 6 credits this summer at UM, and you are planning to work as a Federal Work Study student this summer.

Do not complete a Summer Financial Aid Application if:

  • If you had Federal Work Study during the 2020-21 academic year and you will be enrolled in summer classes at UM (at least 6 credits).

The following are the work-period dates in each summer term:

Summer A: May 16 - June 30
Summer B: July 1 - August 22