Frequently Asked Questions About Federal Work Study


What is Federal Work Study?

Federal Work Study (FWS) is awarded by Financial Aid Services as part of your financial aid package. It allows you to earn money to help you pay for educational and personal expenses of attending college. It does not automatically cover the cost of tuition. To determine if you have an award, review your Award on your MyUHPortal.

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What requirements must I meet to participate in the work-study program?

  • You must have been offered and officially accepted a work-study award for the current academic year
  • You must have attended the FWS orientation offered by the Mānoa Career Center
  • You must be a UH Mānoa student enrolled at least half-time
  • You must demonstrate satisfactory academic progress in a program leading to a degree, according to federal standards
  • Additional criteria may be required by the Mānoa Career Center and Financial Aid Services.

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How do I get an FWS award?

Your FWS award is determined by the information provided from your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid, fafsa.ed.gov). You must apply for federal student aid based on your taxes from the previous year. Once the university receives and views your application, a FWS award may be granted based on financial need.

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How do I use my work-study award?

You will need to secure part-time employment in an approved UHM Student Employment position or with an approved off-campus non-profit organization. Through FWS employment, you will earn your award and receive this income in the form of paychecks. If you are currently employed in a UHM student employment position, notify your supervisor of your award so that you can be placed on the appropriate payroll code to earn your FWS funds.

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What types of off-campus opportunities are available through FWS?

Pre-approved off-campus employment opportunities change throughout the year depending on the job market. However, the Mānoa Career Center actively recruits Reading Tutors and Math Tutors, and partner with non-profit agencies such as Read Aloud America and Kids Hurt Too. Other employment opportunities can be found at http://www.hawaii.edu/sece under the FWS Job Program.

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How do I view available work study positions?

Log on to the sece job search website, http://www.hawaii.edu/sece, using your UH username and password. For detailed instructions, click on the “Obtaining referrals – Visual Guide” link at the bottom of the page under the Information/Help section. After you process your job referral(s) it is up to you to contact the employer(s) to request a job interview.

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How is FWS employment different from other jobs?

The main difference is that the money you earn through FWS will not be counted as income when you apply for federal financial aid in the next year. This allows you to earn money without jeopardizing your eligibility for financial aid. For some positions, a FWS award is required by the employer in order to qualify for the job.

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How do I earn my award?

Once you start working, you will record those hours on your timesheet and submit them to your employer for approval. After it has been approved and processed, you will receive a paycheck for the net wages earned. You may earn up to the dollar amount of your work-study award within the start and end dates of the academic semester.

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Does work-study guarantee that I will get a job?

No; you must apply for positions and go through an interview. However, having a FWS award may give you an advantage over non-FWS students when applying for jobs.

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Do I have to pay the money back?

No; work-study is not a loan. It is an award that is made available for you to earn. The income is to be used at your discretion.

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Do I have to earn the full amount of the award?

No; there is no penalty if you do not earn the entire award.

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Are taxes taken out of my work-study earnings?

Yes, taxes are taken if you earn enough according to IRS tax rules. You may be assessed Federal and State income taxes.

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Where do I go to get additional information?

You may visit the Center for the Mānoa Career Center in the Queen Lili‘uokalani Center for Student Services, room 212. Our service counter hours are Monday- Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding holidays.

If you have specific questions about your financial aid awards, you may visit Financial Aid Services in the Queen Lili‘uokalani Center for Student Services, room 112.

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Still have questions about FWS? Email us.