Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is an opportunity program that funds jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, which can help pay for college expenses. The program is subsidized by the U.S. Department of Education. Students must be authorized in a job in order to earn FWS funds. Earnings are paid semi-monthly in the form of a paycheck through direct deposit, not deducted from your bill. FWS allows students to earn a determined award amount per academic year in on-campus or off-campus positions.

The program is designed to provide students with opportunities for personal and professional growth and development as they begin to learn the skills that will prepare them to enter the workforce upon graduation.

Students in FWS positions will demonstrate their capacity to:

  • Link disciplinary content to the real world.
  • Apply disciplinary content and knowledge gained from experience, including lived experience, within work settings.
  • Develop a sense of connection to an office, project/work team and/or professional setting.
  • Explore professional development and career preparation issues that are personally meaningful.

Contact Federal-Work Study at VCU

Give us a call at (804) 828-6181 or email workstudy@vcu.edu. Our office hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For students

To be eligible for FWS, students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be degree-seeking, enrolled at least half-time, meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements, and have remaining need available. “Need” can only be determined by the FAFSA and is defined as the difference between the students COA (cost of attendance) and the students EFC (estimated family contribution). The EFC number is a direct output of the FAFSA and can only be obtained via the FAFSA. Priority will be given to students who submit their FAFSA by the priority deadline. 

To verify FWS, log in to eServices. Under the “financial aid” tab, select “financial aid status,” then select “financial aid history” to see the amount awarded.

Any change to enrollment status must be reported to the Federal Work-Study office. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of the FWS award without notice.

Contact the Federal Work-Study office with questions about eligibility or assistance with the verification process. Read the Federal Work-Study Student Handbook for details.

For employers

The FWS program provides support staff to VCU departments and community organizations in Richmond at little or no cost to the employer.

Federal funds cover 100% of FWS student wages. Employers are not subject to contribute toward student wages. However, employers may be required to pay any student earnings over the student's FWS allotment. This labor distribution and cost coverage is effective for the 2023-2024 academic year only and will be reevaluated yearly. Read the Federal Work-Study Employer Handbook for details.