Federal Work-Study FAQ


What is the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program?

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a form of financial aid awarded to students who demonstrate financial need and meet certain eligibility requirements. You must submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) (and possibly other financial aid documents required by your school) to determine your eligibility for FWS.

UMUC may offer you aid from the Federal Work-Study Program if you are an undergraduate or graduate student. This program gives you the opportunity to earn money by working part-time during the school year. It is an excellent way to earn money to meet educational expenses while gaining valuable work experience.

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Will my FWS award credit to my university expenses on my bill?

Unlike grants and loans, your FWS eligibility does not defer payments of tuition and fees and other university charges. Instead, you receive bi-weekly paychecks as you work. You can use your earnings toward day-to-day educational and living expenses, or you can save your earnings made during the fall term toward tuition and fee expenses for the spring term. The amount you earn depends on your hourly rate and how any hours you work, but cannot exceed your total award.

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Are work-study student employees paid the same way as any other hourly employees?

Just like an hourly job, you are paid according to the number of hours that you work. Your pay will equal your hourly wage times the number of hours you worked each week. Every two weeks, you will receive a paycheck for the pay you earned in the past two weeks, up to your FWS award. Due to payroll procedures, you will receive your first paycheck one pay period (approximately four weeks) after the pay period in which you started working. Once you receive your paycheck, you are free to spend it on personal and educational expenses.

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How much can I earn through FWS?

Your total fall/spring earnings cannot exceed your FWS award amount.

Your actual earnings depend entirely on your hourly wage and the number of hours you work. If you do not earn your full award amount, you forfeit whatever funds remain. There is no penalty for not earning your full FWS award, other than having to forfeit the unearned amount. Unearned amounts are not transferable to future academic years

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How do I get my FWS award increased?

If your total fall/spring FWS earnings reach your award amount, you can request an increase in your award by sending an e-mail to fws-finaid@umuc.edu. Please be sure to include your First and Last Name and UMUC Student ID number (Please do not put your Social Security Number in an e-mail).

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Should I bring anything for my interview?

Yes, you should bring the following items:

  • Resume – If you need assistance with your resume, please visit the Career Services Resume Tutorial
  • List of days and times you are available to work
  • List of questions regarding the job, expectations, and responsibilities

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What happens after my interview?

Be patient! If the Employer offers you a position, they will contact you with the details. Employers do not have to contact students if they do not want to offer a position. If the Employer has not contacted you a week after the interview, please e-mail fws-finaid@umuc.edu for additional information.

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Where do I return the FWS Application?

You may drop it off in person at the new Student Services Front Desk at the UMUC Academic Center at Largo: 1616 McCormick Drive, Largo, MD 20774. You may also fax it to 301-985-7462 or e-mail it to fws-finaid@umuc.edu.

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What if I can’t find a FWS Job?

Please be advised that the Financial Aid Office cannot guarantee a position for every student. The FWS Coordinator will work with students as much as possible to place students.

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How many hours can I work per week?

Students can only work a maximum of 15 hours per week.

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How many FWS jobs can I have?

FWS students may only work one job at a time. You may still participate in the FWS program if you hold employment positions off-campus, not paid through the University System of Maryland payroll.

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What if I don’t like my job?

FWS employment should be treated like any other type of employment. You may resign from a position whenever you feel necessary. However, we ask you be professional and give your FWS Employer 2 weeks written notice of your departure. Be sure to contact the FWS Coordinator at fws-finaid@umuc.edu to search for a new position or cancellation of your FWS funds.

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Do I have to work both semesters?

No. Your FWS award is valid for employment during the fall and spring semesters. It is up to you to decide when to work. If you choose, you can earn the entire amount of your award in the fall semester. Conversely, if you choose not to work in the fall semester, your entire award will automatically be made available to you for the spring semester. You do not need to contact the FWS office to have your award rolled over. Similarly, you do not need to inform the FWS office of your decision not to work.

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Can I work during the winter break?

With the permission of your FWS employer, you may work during the winter break. Keep in mind, if you earn your FWS award during the winter, you may have less to earn in the spring semester.

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Can I work during the summer?

Yes, but you must meet certain federal requirements. Please e-mail the FWS Coordinator at fws-finaid@umuc.edu to check your eligibility.

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What are the registration requirements for FWS?

To participate in the FWS program student must be registered and maintain halftime status (6 credits or more).

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