Federal Work Study

Federal Work Study

FWS provides students with part-time employment to help meet college costs and, if possible, provide work experience related to their field of study. FWS is federally funded and need-based. Eligibility is determined from information provided on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). To be eligible, you must show need on your federal need analysis report. The number of hours you may work will depend upon the amount awarded. A variety of FWS positions are available. Virtually every college and department uses FWS in some capacity. Positions are available in libraries, laboratories (from anthropology to zoology), student services and academic departments, the Singletary Center and the Johnson Center. Off-campus jobs with non-profit agencies provide opportunities to work directly with the community. For example, off-campus positions are available with the Child Development Center of the Bluegrass, CASA of Lexington, Kentucky Refugee Ministries, and Kentucky Procurement Technical Assistance Center.

Note: Federal Work Study jobs cannot be guaranteed due to emergency restrictions or closure.


Community Service Jobs

In addition to on-campus employment, the FWS program also provides community service job opportunities such as "America Reads." Community Service jobs provide students the opportunity to work off-campus with various community agencies dedicated to improving community living, especially for low-income individuals. "America Reads" is a tutoring program to help elementary school students improve their reading skills. FWS students interested in "America Reads" should contact the College of Education Program Coordinator, 257-1961, 107a Taylor Education Building.  Besides providing reading help tutoring positions offer opportunities to mentor young children. This makes the work rewarding and often influences the career path of the tutor as well.



Earnings through FWS vary with the amount of your FWS award, the pay rate, and the hours you can work. Salaries start at $8.25/hr. and range upward according to the position classification, and/or whether the job is on-campus or off-campus. Most students work ten to twenty hours a week. Employers usually prefer students to work three or more consecutive hours depending on their class schedules. You will receive FWS pay via direct deposit every two weeks according to the number of hours worked and submitted to the FWS Office. FWS earnings do not directly credit a student's billing statement for University charges.


Student's Responsibilities:

Find a Job:

  • Review job listings on the web at https://ukjobs.uky.edu/. All FWS jobs have "FWS" in the title. 

  • Obtain a job packet from the FWS Office by emailing FWS@uky.edu.

  • Contact any department or organization that interests you and arrange for a job interview. 

  • When you are hired, have your supervisor complete the bottom portion of the Job Assignment Form. 

  • Email completed Job Assignment Form and Student Information Sheet to the FWS Office at FWS@uky.edu.

New Hires: 

  • A national background check must be requested for you before you can begin work or obtain an I-9. Before the FWS Office can request a background check you must complete the job application for the hiring department in the University's on-line integrated employment system. After completing the job application either email your signed Job Assignment Form to the FWS Office or have your supervisor to contact the FWS office at FWS@uky.edu

  • Visit the UK Employment Office, 112 Scovell Hall and obtain an I-9 form, a Drug-Free Workplace Certificate and a Race/Ethnicity Disclosure Form if you have not been employed by the University of Kentucky within the past year or if you are an eligible non-citizen who has had a break in employment.  Please visit the UK Human Resources webpage on I-9 forms to schedule your I-9 appointment and to view the acceptable documents for obtaining an I-9.  A background check request must be submitted before an I-9 is issued for FWS students. YOU CANNOT BEGIN WORK WITHOUT AN I-9. 

  • Complete the W-4 tax form. Please use your permanent address. You can complete on paper or on-line via the myUK portal under the employee self-service (ESS) tab which becomes available to new hires 2 to 3 days after the FWS Office enters the employee into the payroll system.

  • Direct Deposit is strongly encouraged. Either complete the paper direct deposit form and include a voided check or statement on your bank’s letterhead with account and routing numbers OR complete the request on-line via the employee self-service tab.

  • Return the following required forms to the FWS Office at FWS@uky.edu BEFORE you begin working. Please return all items together. 

New hires must submit: 

I-9 Drug-Free Workplace Certificate

W-4 Tax Form or ESS

Completed Job Assignment Form

Completed Direct Deposit form or ESS

Student Information Sheet 

Returning student workers must submit: 

Completed Job Assignment Form 

Student Information Sheet 

W-4 information if necessary via ESS

Update direct deposit information if their account has changed. 

Things to Discuss with Your Supervisor:

  • Job duties and responsibilities. 

  • Work schedule. To determine the number of hours that you must work per week, divide your allotment by your pay rate, then divide this by the number of weeks you plan to work. Once you have earned your allotment, you must stop working at once. You and your supervisor are responsible for monitoring your allotment. Call the FWS Office if you have any questions or to request an increase in your allotment. 

  • Time off. If you must be absent from work, advise your supervisor in advance. If you are ill, call your supervisor before your scheduled work hours. FWS is like any other job. An employee separation sheet will be completed and your performance will be evaluated. This form will be sent to personnel and placed in a permanent employment record. Procedures for reporting accidents: You must report a work related accident or injury to your supervisor and the FWS Office as soon as possible.  Pay Increases: 

  • If your class status changes when grades are posted, you will be eligible for a pay increase for the following semester. (i.e. Sophomore to Junior, etc...) 

  • The FWS Office automatically updates pay rates at the end of the fall semester for students whose class status changes. Contact the FWS Office if a late grade results in a status change. If you wish to question your pay rate, please contact the FWS Office directly as soon as you discover a discrepancy.  Transfer to Another Department: 

  • If you want to change jobs, you must first report to the FWS Office. 

  • You will be given a transfer sheet that must be signed by your current supervisor and returned to the FWS office. 

  • After completing the above you will be given a new Job Assignment Form to be completed by the new supervisor. Reporting Time Worked: 

  • The first day that you can begin work is the Monday of the beginning of the term or after you have returned all forms to the FWS Office, whichever is later. 

  • Use the Time Reporting and Pay Schedule to find the account number and pay period dates that belong on each timesheet. 

  • Paper or electronic time reporting. Select campus departments use on-line time reporting. Check with your supervisor. 

  • All timesheets must be completed in ink by your supervisor. 

  • Report all partial hours worked in quarter hours (0.25=15 minutes, 0.50=30 minutes, 0.75=45 minutes).

  • Make sure that all information on the timesheet is correct. All information must be completed. Incorrect or incomplete timesheets could result in not receiving a timely paycheck.

  • All timesheets must be reviewed and signed by you and your supervisor. It is a supervisors' responsibility to make sure timesheets are completed accurately and submitted to the FWS Office before the deadline. 

  • Failure to have timesheets signed by an authorized person could result in the student losing their job and a possible violation of section 2.8 (9) of the Code of Student Conduct. Falsifying FWS timesheets is a federal offense. Any student who obtains FWS funds through fraud will be reported to the U.S. Inspector General's Office. 

  • You and your supervisor should discuss and appoint an alternate person in the department who can sign timesheets in the absence of the supervisor, and establish when it is appropriate for the alternate person to sign a timesheet. 

  • Timesheets must be turned in at the FWS Office, 128 Funkhouser Building by 11:00 am on each Friday pending the pay period. Any exceptions to this because of holidays are noted on the schedule. 

  • Timesheets are provided to your supervisor by the FWS Office. If more are needed, the supervisor should contact the FWS Office to request more      timesheets. We cannot give timesheets out to students. 

  • You cannot work more than 40 hours per week. 

  • You will not be paid for holidays unless you actually work and note this on your timesheet. 

FWS Remuneration Statements:

  • Please check the Timesheet and Pay Schedule for pay dates.

  • You will receive a remuneration statement bi-weekly. Your pay is not applied to your tuition. 

  • Use the employee self-service tab in myUK to view your remuneration statement. 

  • Contact FWS Office with questions about pay.


FWS Eligibility Requirements:

To be eligible, you must: 

Be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident. 

Show need based on the analysis of the information you submitted on your FAFSA. 

Maintain satisfactory academic progress (click here for RAP standards). 

Have a complete application for financial aid; no open folders; no incomplete requests for information.

Be enrolled at least half-time as an undergraduate or graduate student. 

Not have defaulted on or owe a refund to any aid program.


FWS Jobs:

FWS available jobs available on IES at https://ukjobs.uky.edu/.


How to Apply for FWS:

Complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and indicate your interest in Federal Work Study. If eligible, your FWS award will be included in your financial aid award package. If you receive an award package without FWS but would like to work through FWS, please contact your financial aid counselor. 

Pay Rate:

Pay Rate Schedule For FWS Employees

Federal Work-Study Pay Rate Schedule

Work-Study Classification Min Max
Student Assistant/Work-Study 8.25 16.00
Library Assistant/Work-Study 8.25 16.00
Research Assistant/Work-Study 8.25 16.00
Tutor/Work-Study 8.25 16.00
Lab Assistant/Work-Study 8.25 16.00
Residence Hall Night Clerk/Work-Study 8.25


Fabrication Tech/Work-Study 8.25 16.00
Peer Coach/Work-Study 8.25 16.00
America Reads/Work-Study 8.25 16.00
Other/Work-Study 8.25 20.00


Frequently Asked Questions:

What is Federal Work Study?

The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. Wages earned are paid to the student via the University Payroll System and are direct deposited to the checking account specified by the student. Earnings are not credited to the student’s university account and therefore do not pay the student’s billed charges. The program provides a wide variety of positions and possibly a position related to your field of study. One advantage of working through the Work-Study program is that the money earned is not counted as earned income on the upcoming FAFSA (Free Application for Student Aid).


Are Federal Work Study jobs on campus or off-campus?

Both. You choose!! If you work on-campus, you will work for your school. It's a great way to become connected with the University. If you work off-campus, your employer will be a non-profit organization. The Federal Work-Study Office maintains an up to date listing of all jobs available.


How much can I make?

Your total Federal Work-Study award depends on your level of need and the funding level of your school. Your pay rate will be based on your classification per the Registrar's Office and whether you choose to work on-campus or off-campus.


How will I be paid?

You will be paid bi-weekly for hours worked during each pay period. You can view your pay statement on-line through the myUK portal on the Employee Self-Service (ESS) tab. A new employee may receive a paper check for the first payroll period. Please ask your supervisor about your pay if funds are not direct deposited. 


A Pre-employment National Background Check -- Are you Serious?

Kentucky law requires the university to complete national background checks on all newly hired employees. Since the work-study payroll is part of the university's payroll system, the requirement includes Federal Work Study employees. The FWS Office is responsible for initiating the background check request through Human Resources' Integrated Employment System (IES) after a student is hired. Students must complete an application in IES, the employing department then asks the FWS Office to trigger the background check. The background check request must be made before the Employment Office will issue an I-9. All employees must have an I-9 before beginning work for the university.