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. 

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 $12.00/hour 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.


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 package. If you receive a package without FWS but would like to work through FWS, please complete the FWS Inquiry Form

If you have already accepted Federal Work Study as part of your financial aid package, you can search for jobs here


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 SAP standards). 
  • Have a complete application for financial aid; 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.


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. 

  • 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 the Pay Rate determined by the FWS supervisor as indicated on the FWS Hiring Form.

  • 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. 

Student Frequently Asked Questions:

  • I'm not eligible for work-study. Can I apply for a work-study job?

No. Only students who have Federal Work-Study (FWS) in their financial aid may work and earn FWS wages.

The UK STEPS office may assist with student employment opportunities.  Also, the UK Stuckert Career Center has information for non-work-study job opportunities on their website. 

Some departments hire students regardless of work-study eligibility. You may need to contact a department of interest to ask whether they provide employment outside of the work-study program. Please understand, though, that departments benefit from hiring FWS-eligible students due to the federal wage subsidy sharing agreement, and not all departments have the financial ability to hire non-work-study students. Non-work-study students are paid entirely from the department's budget.

  • I see work-study in my financial aid award. Am I required to get a work-study job?

No. Work-study provides students the opportunity of part-time work and to earn money, often to cover things like toiletries, entertainment, and other personal expenses. You are not required or obligated to get a work-study job and can always choose to cover your personal expenses in some other way.

  • I have work-study listed on my financial aid offer. Am I guaranteed a job?

Work-study is not a job placement program. It is up to you to find a FWS job and get hired, just like any other job. Our office posts available job openings  (ukjobs.uky.edu) when campus and community employers notify us of them, but we are not able to control what jobs are available or where.

  • Why isn't my work-study listed on my billing statement?

Work-study is not a financial aid program that is directly applied to tuition charges. Students earn an hourly wage and receive a biweekly paycheck for hours worked.

  • I do not wish to get a work-study job or haven't found one. Do I have other options?

If you don't plan to earn your work-study funds, you should decline that offer to let us know.  If you still want a job, you can seek other non-work-study forms of employment.

The UK STEPS office may assist with student employment opportunities.  Also, the UK Stuckert Career Center has information for non-work-study job opportunities on their website. 

If you do not wish to find a job, you might be eligible to borrow a student loan instead. Please contact your Financial Aid counselor to discuss other possible options.

  • I declined my work-study, but now I want to get a work-study job. Am I still eligible?

Email us at FWS@uky.edu and we can review your eligibility for you.

  • How is a work-study position different from other student positions?

Like other student positions, you will receive a bi-weekly paycheck/direct deposit; however, the funding source is different for work-study employees, with the federal government providing up to 75% of your wages and your employer providing the remaining 25%. This will be set up by your supervisor when they officially hire you for the FWS position.  Contact the financial aid office if you have any questions.

  • I was eligible for work-study in the past, but I don't see it this year. Am I eligible?

Work-study is a need-based federal financial aid program, and your eligibility is determined annually based on your financial aid application. Changes to your financial circumstances, enrollment, living arrangements, and other factors can impact your work-study eligibility. If you have questions, contact the financial aid office to speak with a counselor.