Federal Work Study – Domestic Students Only
Pay rates vary based on the employer and should be the same as a non-work study student would be paid. Students may work on-campus or for an approved off-campus employer. Students can use FWS towards practicum positions with off-campus employers.
Additional FWS information can be found on the Student Employment Office website.
What is Federal Work Study (FWS)?
Federal Work Study (FWS) is a federally-funded financial aid program that allows undergraduate and graduate students to earn money by working part-time while in school. FWS is available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents and is offered based on a student’s financial need. To be eligible for FWS students must first complete the FAFSA and be enrolled in a degree program for a minimum of 10 credits per semester.
When an employer hires an FWS student, they only pay a percentage of that student’s salary (usually 25%). The government pays for the remainder. This means that, as an FWS student, employers have a financial incentive to hire YOU!
- When you qualify for FWS, you are not obligated to work nor guaranteed a job. If you wish to work, you must find and secure a position on your own in order to begin receiving the FWS funds in your financial aid package. You can start a job at any point during the semester.
- You will receive your FWS funds in the form of weekly or bi-weekly paychecks, not all at once. The actual amount you earn depends on your hourly wage and number of hours worked, which is determined by you and your employer. You might earn less than the amount of your award. You may also be able to increase your award if your earnings begin to approach the award amount. Contact the Office of Financial Aid if this happens at firstname.lastname@example.org.
How can I find student employment?
Students are encouraged to contact their academic departments or faculty members directly to see if there are any job opportunities. A position does not have to be advertised as a “work study position” in order to qualify for FWS.
Three Tips for Finding Jobs:
- Read e-mails from your academic department and Student News
- Browse Career Connect and the Student Employment Office database
- Reach out to employers and faculty directly to ask about openings
Students living outside of Massachusetts can work remotely for Harvard entities, however, off-campus work study must be in Massachusetts.
What should I do once I get a FWS job offer?
Once you secure an FWS job, you or your supervisor must complete an online FWS referral form before you can begin working.
Summer Federal Work Study Program
Students with Federal Work Study have the option of using this award in the summer, either the summer before their program starts or, if they are in a multi-year program, the summer between. If you have been awarded academic year Federal Work Study award and are interested in the Summer Federal Work Study Program (FWSP), please complete the Summer Federal Work Study interest form. We will be in touch with student regarding this program in late April/early May.
Students not eligible for the FWS program can refer to the “How can I find student employment” section above. Please be aware, international students cannot work more than 20 hours/week and domestic students are discouraged from working more than 20 hours/week.
Research and teaching assistantships
Research and teaching assistantships are highly competitive and selections are made by the individual Academic Departments/Programs. Pay rates and time commitment vary by position. Students should reach out directly to the academic administrators regarding availability. These positions do not offer tuition remission or other benefits. General information, payment guidelines, and other relevant information can be found on the Office of Education’s website.