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FWS Question & Answer Guide

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The WORD on Work-study


  • What is the Federal Work-study (FWS) program?

    The FWS program provides part-time employment to undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help supplement the costs of a postsecondary education. It also encourages students receiving FWS assistance to participate in community service activities and develop real world employment experience.

  • What are the benefits of the FWS program?

    The FWS program offers students the chance to earn federal funding in exchange for time worked, to experience a professional work environment that could help prepare them for future career opportunities, and to learn and perform general duties. It also allows them the chance to interact with other professionals in a work setting and develop critical communicative and organizational skills needed to become a participating member of the work force.

  • Why is the FWS program important?

    FWS funds are awarded to institutions on a participation basis. This means that the more money spent, the more money received each year (in accordance with allocations from the Department of Education).

  • How many hours must a student be enrolled to use FWS?

     All students must be enrolled at least half-time (6+ hours for undergraduates, 3+ hours for graduates), with priority given to full-time students. In addition, FWS applicants must be in a degree-seeking program, be eligible for federal financial aid, have completed their financial assistance file, have a valid award letter indicating their FWS program award, and not currently be employed on a Student Employment, Graduate Assistant, or Resident Assistant agreement..

  • What is the process after a student accepts the position?

    A student will be offered the position and the supervisor will contact the OFA to confirm eligibility. Once confirmed, the supervisor submits the FWS Agreement Request Form to the OFA indicating the amount and pay rate of the agreement. Once the agreement is created, the supervisor will be notified so that they can contact the student letting them know that the agreement is available to be signed at the OFA. Once signed, the agreement is stubmitted to HR for review and then to Payroll for approval and creation of the online timesheet. All documents must be completed with HR before the agreement will be issued to Payroll. 

  • When can a student begin working? 

    A student can begin working once the agreement is signed, online FWS training is completed (for new students), all HR documents submitted (I-9 and W4) and payroll creates the Web-time Entry account.  

    Students and Supervisors will not be notified by Payroll when the timesheet is available. It is the student/supervisor's responsibility to check the status by logging into Web-time Entry and reviewing the eligible timesheets. 

  • How many hours can a student work? 

    FWS employees may not work more than 40 hours per pay period (20 hours per week). FWS employees cannot work while they are scheduled to be in class and they cannot also have an active Student Employment, Graduate Assistant or Resident Assistant agreement. In addition, FWS students can never volunteer while they are scheduled to work. They must get paid for their job duties. 

  • Who monitors work hours? 

    The amount of the student's FWS award may not be exceeded. The supervisor and the student share the responsibility of monitoring the amount of money earned. Supervisors are encouraged to develop their own time log to monitor the number of hours the student works and the money earned for each pay period to ensure that the student does not earn more than the amount of the FWS award. Federal regulations require this to be heavily monitored. 

  • When are timesheets due?

    Timesheets are due on the 1st and 15th of every month. Supervisors MUST approve timesheets online (or sign the paper version) and on-time if they want their employees to be paid timely. In addition, students MUST log in everyday to track their time. Students should not wait until the end of each cycle to input their time all at once nor are they allowed to enter their time worked before hand.

  • Can a student work during the summer? 

    YES! If a student has an established agreement (worked in spring) the student can work until June 30th as long as the student has funds remaining in the agreement. On July 1st, a student can work the remainder of the summer on a NEW agreement as long as the student is enrolled at least half-time (6+ hours for undergraduates, 3+ hours for graduates) in the summer or pre-enrolled for the fall. If not, the FWS agreement is terminated and the student must be employed through Student Employment if the supervisor wants to continue employment. 

    Students who are graduating in the fall/spring cannot work the week of finals. Their last day of employment must be the last Friday before finals week. Supervisors must notify the OFA of any graduating employees so contracts can be terminated. 

  • Who contacts HR and Payroll to terminate a FWS agreement? 

    The OFA FWS Coordinator submits the request for termination, not the supervisor. It is the supervisor's responsibility to contact the OFA to terminate an agreement, giving the last day of employment and purpose for termination. The OFA will contact HR and Payroll once the evaluation of awards and termination is complete. 

  • What is the difference between FWS and Student Employment? 

    These are two separate lines of funding. FWS is funded from the Department of Education (ED), given to UIW and monitored through the Office of Financial Assistance. FWS has its own set of rules and regulations, which are monitored closely by the ED to make sure we are in compliance. 

    Student Employment is funded internally (through department budgets) and monitored by Human Resources.