Federal Work-Study Program

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a federally funded program that provides employment for students by paying a percentage of students' wages, thereby enabling colleges and qualified agencies to employ more students. As a participant in this federally funded program, NIU receives a federal grant each year that pays for a portion of students' wages while they are employed under the Work-Study Program. Many departments prefer to hire students on work-study because the subsidy from the federal government enables them to hire more students. Students hired on work-study are paid according to the same wage scale and are treated the same as other student employees.

To apply for the Federal Work-Study Program, students must complete and send the financial aid forms necessary for any type of financial aid. These forms are available from the Student Financial Aid Office. Students will receive notification of their eligibility for any form of financial aid, including work-study. Eligible students may visit the Student Employment website to determine what jobs are available.

Advantages of Working on Federal Work-Study

It may be easier for the university to locate a job for you. Employers are anxious to employ Work-Study students since employers pay only a small portion of students' wages and the government picks up the rest. There is the obvious advantage of being able to earn money for your education rather than burden yourself with loans. Any money you earn on FWS is not used in calculating your expected student contribution when you file for financial aid. The smaller your expected family contribution, the greater your eligibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Will I Be Paid and How Much?

You will be paid on an hourly basis, semi-monthly. You will be paid on the same wage scale as all other hourly student employees. It is university policy to pay all employees by electronic direct deposit.

Does the University Take the Money I Earn to Pay My College Debts?

Absolutely not! FWS gives you the opportunity to earn rather than borrow for the money you need for your education. You are expected to use the money for educational purposes, but the money you earn goes directly to you.

Am I limited to an amount I may earn on Federal Work-Study?

Yes, you are limited by the amount of work/loan eligibility you are offered and the amount you accept for Federal Work-Study.