Federal Work-Study Program

Frequently Asked Questions

To receive Federal Work-Study, you must meet the eligibility requirements for federal student aid described in the PELL Frequently Asked Questions.

To be considered for Federal Work-Study, you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student aid (FAFSA) by an established filing deadline and indicate on it that you are interested in work. CUNY receives a fixed amount of money each academic year to make Federal Work-Study awards. Once this money is awarded, there is no more for that academic year. Federal Work-Study is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. You must file your FAFSA early to be considered.If you are awarded Federal Work-Study, the award will be posted to your Financial Aid Award Summary page in CUNYfirst.  To view this page, login to your Student Center in CUNYfirst, and click on “View Financial Aid.” After the college packages you with your financial aid awards, you will also receive an e-mail award letter that will indicate whether or not you have been awarded FWS.

If you don’t receive a Federal Work-Study award as part of your awards package, you may submit an Award Letter Appeal Form to be considered for FWS.  You are welcome to visit the Federal Work Study Placement Office in Rm N370 if you have questions about your award status.

To the maximum extent possible, the Federal Work-Study Placement Office will try to place you in a job that complements or reinforces your educational program or career goals.

You may work either on-campus in one of the departments of the College or off-campus at a number of non-profit community service agencies affiliated with CUNY. Also, there may be opportunities to work at selected companies in the private sector that choose to participate in the program.

Where you work will depend on the amount of your award, class schedule, job skills and the availability of suitable work-study positions. If you receive a small award or have a heavy class schedule, you will usually be placed on-campus.

Yes. If you receive an Federal Work-Study award, you will come to the Financial Aid Office at the beginning of the term for placement. You will have the opportunity to select and submit a job application for a work-study assignment from our online job bank.

You will be interviewed by a prospective employer and, if your hiring is approved by both the employer and the FWS placement office, you will be able to begin to work.

No. Your Federal Work-Study award represents the maximum amount you may earn for the academic year.

How much of the total award you actually will earn depends on your rate of pay, the total number of hours you work each week and the number of weeks you work in the year. Once you have earned your maximum FWS award, you will have to stop working.

You are paid by the hour. Your rate of pay is determined by the job location and the nature of the work involved. The rate of pay for on-campus jobs is $15.00 per hour. Off-campus jobs start at $15.00 per hour and vary based on the job location and skill level of the prospective Federal Work-Study employee.

Every two weeks your Federal Work-Study supervisor will submit a timesheet for the hours you worked in each work period to the Financial Aid Office. Your timesheet will be processed for payment according to an established pay calendar.

No. You can be paid only for the hours you have worked. If you cannot earn your entire Federal Work-Study award before the end of the academic year, the unearned portion of your award is returned to the program.

In order to be eligible to participate in the Federal Work-Study program, you must register for and maintain an enrollment status of half-time (6 credits or equated credits) or greater. If, for any reason, your course load falls below half-time, you can no longer participate in the program and must stop working.

Yes. If you withdraw from school for any reason, you lose your eligibility for Federal Work-Study and must stop working.

Yes. Federal Work-Study earnings are considered taxable income by both federal and state governments. However, Federal Work-Study earnings are not included in the calculation of your eligibility for financial aid.

According to federal law, the identity and work eligibility of all Federal Work-Study students must be verified before beginning an Federal Work-Study assignment. You will have to complete an I-9 form and present certain documents to an appropriate Federal Work-Study representative. You may not participate in the on-campus Federal Work-Study program until you have filed an I-9 form with the Financial Aid Office. If you work off-campus, you will file your I-9 with your off-campus employer.

There are a number of benefits associated with Federal Work-Study participation. Some of these are:

  • If you have never had a job, the Federal Work-Study program can give you your first exposure to the world of work. Federal Work-Study employers are often willing to give you on-the-job training.
  • You can find positions relating directly to your program of study or career choice, thereby gaining valuable job experience.
  • You may learn about giving something back to the community through a community service related Federal Work-Study position.
  • When seeking regular employment after graduation, you may use your Federal Work-Study job as an employment reference.
  • A Federal Work-Study position can sometimes lead to a permanent job with the agency that hired them as Federal Work-Study students.