Federal Work Study (FWS)

In order to obtain an FWS position, students must possess an award from the Office of Financial Aid.

When students complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), they indicate if they are interested in receiving Federal Work Study. If interested students meet certain FWS eligibility requirements, they may be awarded FWS in their financial aid award package according to the availability of funds. This award can be viewed and accepted in a student’s OASIS account. For questions about how to receive an FWS award, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

When students complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) they indicate if they are interested in receiving Federal Work Study.  If interested students meet certain FWS eligibility requirements, they may be awarded FWS in their financial aid award package according to the availability of funds.


FWS Requirements:

  • FAFSA Forms Required
  • January 1st Priority Deadline
  • Awarded by Financial Aid
  • Annual Maximum Amount is $8,000
  • Need based program which requires FAFSA
  • Must be Undergraduate Student, Maintain satisfactory academic progress, Minimum of 2.0 USF Cumulative GPA
  • Minimum 6 USF Active credit hours with No Drops per semester to obtain disbursement each term 

If awarded FWS, it is the student’s responsibility to secure an FWS job in order to earn their award money. Most FWS positions are on-campus, however some are off-campus community service-oriented positions. An FWS student who successfully secures an FWS position will earn their award money in the form of a paycheck every other week, equivalent to the number of hours worked and the hourly rate.

SWS – Summer Work Study is made available to eligible students who are working in an FWS job during the Spring term. Students are alerted via OASIS and must accept their summer work study award during the spring semester.

USF Center for Career & Professional Development can assist students with their self-directed job search. Information on how to apply for FWS positions appears below.

There are two ways to find FWS positions:

Handshake
Login to Handshake via MyUSF > My Resources > Find A Job (Handshake). If this login method does not work for you, please complete our account request form. Do not attempt to create your own account as it will not be connected to USF and you will not be able to see FWS positions.

Once in Handshake, you can search for positions. All postings related to Federal Work Study should begin with “FWS.” For assistance with searching for FWS positions on Handshake, visit the Center for Career & Professional Development.

Department
If you’re interested in working for a specific department, ask them if they have any available FWS or Student Employment positions open. If they do, follow their instructions to submit your application. It may be a good idea to bring a generic resume with you to these conversations.

Starting in Fall?
Plan to start your search no earlier than July 1, as that is when most departments will begin posting new positions for the Fall semester. Departments will continue to post positions as they become available, with many positions being advertised within the first few weeks of the Fall semester.

Starting in Spring?
Start your search as early as October, but note that many on-campus departments that are hiring for FWS positions are hoping to fill these quickly. Take care to mention in your cover letter that you will begin classes in the Spring semester.

With roughly 50,000 students across the three USF campuses, you have a lot of competition for any part-time job. Make yourself a stand-out candidate by getting help from the Center for Career & Professional Development early and having a strategic plan when applying to positions. Here are some things you can consider to help you stand out:

  • Create a tailored resume and cover letter for each job applied for. Check out the Learn About page for help with creating these important tools.
  • Address your cover letter to the hiring manager of the department for which you are applying. You should find the contact info for the department at the bottom of each job posting. If a specific contact isn’t listed, try reaching out to the department to determine who the hiring manager is. If you have tried that and still can’t find a specific person to address your cover letter to, you can use the default “Dear Hiring Manager” for your letter.
  • When applying to FWS jobs, you will need to provide a screenshot of your award to attach to the application. Login to MyUSF > My Resources > OASIS > Financial Aid > My Award and Loan Information > Award Overview and your award will be shown as a line item in your financial aid package. Take a screenshot of the award and assure that it is clear and that your name and U# are included in the capture. The entirety of the award must be shown or it will not be able to be used when processing your hire paperwork.
  • The job description may also ask you to provide your semester class schedule as part of the application process. You can find your schedule on the MyUSF homepage or a more friendly calendar view MyUSF > My Resources > OASIS > Registration > Week at a Glance.
  • Handshake allows you to choose your attachments when applying for a new position. Click here for detailed instructions on how to attach documents to your Handshake account.

Departments/offices will each have their own way to review applications which will likely include an interview. For help in preparing, view the Learn About page.

Once offered the position, you will be asked to fill out paperwork through USF Human Resources. If you get a position on-campus, you’ll need to have the right documentation to fill out your I-9 form. Check out the documents that you could use at uscis.gov/i-9. Make sure you have access to your checking or savings account number and routing number so that you can set up automatic deposit.

You should discuss their hours with your department and/or supervisor in order to determine how much of your award you can earn. Since departments are given limited funding to which they must adhere, departments are not required to ensure students earn their full award amount.

Students often do the best at balancing work and school if they limit their job hours to 15-20 a week.

For students on the Sarasota-Manatee campus:

The supervisor will write you a letter of job offer. Take a copy of this signed letter to Human Resources and schedule an appointment to complete your new hire paperwork (you can contact Carolyn Dyson at cdyson@usf.edu or 941-359-4224). 

  • You should discuss their hours with your department and/or supervisor in order to determine how much of your award you can earn. Since departments are given limited funding to which they must adhere, departments are not required to ensure students earn their full award amount.
  • You will negotiate your start date with your supervisor. The majority of students who elect to do “work-study” start their jobs during the first three or four weeks of classes and work until finals week of the semester.
  • Work-study appointments may not exceed 20 hours per week when classes are in session, with most students scheduling about 12-15 hours per week. You can work up to 40 hrs. a week during USF recognized breaks.
  • If you get a position on-campus, you’ll need to have the right documentation to fill out your I-9 form. Check out the documents that you could use at uscis.gov/i-9. Make sure you have access to a voided check or bank document with an account number and routing number so that you can set up automatic deposit.

If you are experiencing discrimination or sexual harassment in your student employment or Federal Work Study (FWS) position, the USF Office of Compliance and Ethics and their partners offer services to assist you. Their contact information, along with additional resources for understanding your reporting options, can be found on their website at https://www.usf.edu/compliance-ethics/.