What is Federal Work Study?

The purpose of this guide is to familiarize students and supervisors
with the policies and procedures regarding Samuel Merritt’s Federal
Work Study program. Any student and supervisor/employer who
will be participating in the FWS program MUST read the guide in its
entirety before a student can begin working. For additional
information on Federal Work Study policies and procedures, please
contact Tari Witherspoon, Associate Director of Financial Aid at
510-869-1539 or [email protected]
What is Federal Work Study?
Federal Work Study (FWS) is a program that provides jobs for
undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial
need. FWS allows for students to earn money to assist in
educational and personal expenses. Earnings from FWS are paid
directly to the student.
Who is eligible for Federal Work Study?
Undergraduate and Graduate Students who request FWS
when they apply for financial aid and indicate a work
preference on the FAFSA AND who have a remaining unmet
need after packaging all other forms of financial aid are
eligible to be awarded. Students must be enrolled at least half
time and maintain standard academic progress in order to
remain eligible for FWS.
Types of Federal Work Study Employment
- On-campus
- Off-campus (private or non-profit organization)
- Off campus — Community Service
Finding a job
Most students find positions by checking with departments in person
or visiting the human resources page on our main website.
Departments seeking to hire students must have an accurate and
updated job description on file with the financial aid office before a
student can be hired.
If a student is interested in an off campus community service
position, please contact Dr. Craig Elliott at
[email protected]
How much is a Student awarded?
Students with remaining unmet need are initially packaged
with $1000 which can be increased to a maximum of $4000
per award year. Awards in excess of $4000 will require an
appeal submitted by the student and supervisor and must have
the approval of the Financial Aid Office.
How many Hours can a student work?
We encourage all students to put their class and study time first.
Given the rigorous nature of the programs students are not allowed
to work during any scheduled class time and should not exceed 20
hours per week during periods of enrollment and 40 hours per week
during vacation periods which includes summer. Supervisors are
responsible for making sure they have copies of their student
schedules when they are hired to ensure that we are following
federal regulations.
Departmental Allocations
All Departments must submit updated job descriptions in order to be
allocated funds for the upcoming award year. Funds are allocated
annually each June and are effective July 1st. Allocation is based on
average spending patterns from the current year. Each Division has a
cushion of $3000 should any one department go over their allocation.
Should a department need to increase their allocation please contact
Tari Witherspoon in the Financial aid office. Those hiring students
should be the primary supervisor, thus having signature authority for
time cards.
The hiring process
• Students must pick up a FWS new hire form from the financial aid
office to confirm eligibility
This form must be completed by the student and the supervisor.
• The form should be returned to Tari Witherspoon for final review.
• Once eligibility has been confirmed a student must fill out a new hire
packet in the campus service center before they begin working.
How are Students Paid
Typical Federal work study jobs have a pay rate of $12 per hour
with the exception of a few specialized positions. For those
positions, Supervisors must work with Financial Aid for
approval of the higher pay rate.
Time Cards
Students must submit time cards for each pay period that they have
worked. Each time card is to be accurately filled in with the appropriate
cost center, pay rate and supervisors signature. Time cards are to be
submitted to the Campus Service Center for verification and then sent
to payroll. Time cards that are not accurately filled out will be returned
to the student and supervisor and may delay the processing of a student
paycheck. Please note it is the supervisors responsibility to make sure
the cost center indicated also matches the department for which their
FWS funds have been allocated.
Check Distribution and Payroll Schedule
Paychecks will be available to be picked up at the Campus Service
Center for those who do not have direct deposit. Students who
participate with the Direct Deposit program, their paychecks will be
deposited directly into the student’s bank account.
Student Rights and Responsibilities
- Information regarding their award amount, rate of pay, average
number of hours per week, and general FWS procedures.
- A clearly defined work schedule, which accommodates their course
schedule and academic requirements.
- Adequate training to perform assigned tasks
- A safe, clean, and professional working environment
- Supervision and direction from faculty or staff
- Instructions for recording hours worked, as well as information
regarding the Universities payroll procedures and payroll calendar
Student Rights and Responsibilities
- Become familiar with information provided regarding the
terms of the FWS award and FWS program procedures.
- Communicate with supervisor regarding schedule
- Notify supervisor immediately if you expect to be absent or

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