Federal Work Study (FWS)

Federal Work Study (FWS) helps eligible students earn funds for educational expenses while providing worthwhile job experience. Receiving a FWS offer does not guarantee you a job. Job placement depends on a number of factors including your skills and abilities and your availability to work certain hours.

How to Apply
  • Submit your FAFSA as close to January 1 as possible and indicate "yes" you are interested in the Work Study Program
  • Submit any and all documents requested by the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office as quickly as you can to complete your file
  • Completed files are awarded in a first-come first-serve order until the campus' allocation has been exhausted

NOTE: FWS funds are limited and we are unable to award all interested students. If you are not awarded FWS after receiving your award letter, you may submit the FWS Request form to the Financial Aid & Scholarships Office when available. Do not submit this form until you have received your financial aid award letter.

Finding a FWS Job

FWS jobs are posted online through Career Connection beginning August 5.  If you have been awarded FWS, it is highly recommended that you use and follow the 6-Step Hiring Instructions to navigate through the hiring process.

If you did not receive an automatic offer for the FWS Program you may submit the FWS Request Form.  If eligible and if there are funds available in the program, we will offer you FWS. Keep in mind that job placement depends on your skills and in some cases, your availability to work certain hours.  An offer of FWS does not guarantee you a job. If you do not find FWS employment within 90 days from the date of the offer, it may be cancelled.

FWS Orientation Sessions
The Financial Aid & Scholarships Office partners with Career Connection to provide orientation sessions for students interested in participating in the FWS program.   Orientation attendance is not mandatory but recommended if you are new to the program. 


Getting Paid With FWS

The FWS award works differently than all other aid programs, in that it is not disbursed to pay university debt (like a Pell Grant or student loan), but rather, you earn the funds by working and the monies are disbursed to you in the form of a paycheck. Every month your paycheck is deducted from your FWS award. Both you and your supervisor are responsible for keeping track of your earnings and you should not exceed your FWS award amount.

  • Example: Your FWS award is $3,000 and your first paycheck is $500, you now have $2,500 in FWS funds to earn for the academic year. You do not receive the $3,000 award in addition to your paycheck.
  • Students are typically paid on the 15th of each month, either through paper check or direct deposit. Be sure to submit your timesheet to the Payroll Office on or before the 1st of each month to avoid delays.
  • Visit the Payroll Office for more details.

The FWS award on your award letter cannot be accepted until you have secured employment.  When we have received communication from your prospective employer, we will accept the award on your behalf. Once hired, you are required to report to work on time and to perform the work duties as assigned by your supervisor.

The Student Employment Payroll Transaction Form (SEPTF) can be completed by the Student Service Center or Payroll Office starting the week before the semester begins.


Performance Evaluation

Student Employees are expected to behave ethically and professionally and are subject to standard University regulations. Violations of department/school work rules (e.g., poor performance, insubordination, absenteeism, dishonesty, theft, substance abuse, misuse of university property, etc.), will be addressed accordingly.

  • Student assistants are entitled to an annual performance review. Supervisors may use the updated Division of Student Affairs Student Performance Report.
  • The Departmental Student Performance Report is a template that should be adapted to each specific department. It is designed to facilitate a conversation between the student assistant and his or her supervisor during the evaluation process.  

Supervisors must provide a copy to the student and maintain a signed copy for the student’s employee file.


Quit or Terminate a FWS Job

If you decide to quit or terminate your FWS job, it is expected that you will follow professional business protocol and provide your supervisor with a two-week notice.   Both you and your supervisor are responsible for keeping track of your earnings and you should not exceed your FWS award amount.

When terminating your FWS position, the FWS Adjustment Request Form provides you three options:

  • Terminate employment
  • Terminate employment and look for a new FWS job 
  • Terminate FWS and transfer remaining funds to a loan*

    *The loan amount will depend on your remaining annual and/or lifetime loan eligibility


Additional Information

  • Frequently asked FWS questions are available here
  • You can email the FWS Program at sacstatefws@csus.edu


Rev. 7/19/2016