Federal Work Study

Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) provides part-time employment to domestic students who need earnings to help meet their educational expenses while in school.

The program allows students to gain work experience and pay for a part of their educational expenses as they earn their award.

Funds for this program come from the federal government as well as Soka University of America and are awarded based on need.

Rather than receiving a check at the beginning of each semester, students receive their work-study award as earnings from their job in the form of a paycheck.

The work experience gained through this program can prove to be a valuable asset when seeking employment after graduation.


  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid Application (FAFSA) each year by the March 2nd deadline and submit all requested documents by the deadline specified.
  • Answer “Yes” if interested in Work Study on the FAFSA.


  • Based on financial eligibility.
  • Due to limited available funding, these awards are generally directed to students with relatively low Expected Family Contributions (EFC).
  • When awarding continuing students, preference is given to those students who have utilized their work-study award in the prior year.

Important Information About Work-Study Awards

  • The work-study program is based on financial aid eligibility; the amount will be listed on the “Financial Aid Award" page on the Learn Account.
  • Students must work to receive these funds.
  • This award allows students to gain work experience and pay for some of their educational expenses with a semi-monthly paycheck.
  • As a work-study recipient, students have the choice of obtaining a work-study job either on campus or off campus at a nonprofit agency.
  • The FWS award is the maximum amount student can earn, regardless of the number of positions they hold.  FWS students may hold one on campus job and one off campus community service job or internship.
  • If students do not wish to utilize their work-study award, they may request to have it converted into a loan. Depending on their remaining eligibility, student may be offered additional Federal Direct Stafford and/or Federal Direct Parent PLUS loan.
  • If students decline their work-study award, the Office of Financial Aid may terminate it and offer the funds to another eligible student.
  • If you are on study abroad for one semester, you may work during the semester you are on campus.  Work study funds cannot be paid while you are abroad.

How to Utilize Federal Work-Study

  • Print a copy of the "Financial Aid Award" page - this is the official notification of student’s FWS award amount; the hiring department and/or Human Resources Office may want to view this.
  • Apply for a job.  Jobs listings are available thru the Portal under Human Resources/Student Employment.
  • Once a student applies for a job, the hiring department will contact the student to schedule an interview.
  • Once hired, the student must complete the necessary paperwork with Human Resources.
  • Students are to work the hours as scheduled with their employer.
  • Students will receive a paycheck semi-monthly for the hours they worked.

Tips for Finding a Position

  • Contact the Manager of Community Services/Internship for Community Service opportunities to be paid thru FWS.
  • Jobs listings are available thru the Portal under Human Resources/Student Employment.

How Much Can I Work?

  • Based on a FWS award of $1,500 at an hourly rate of $9.00, students may work an average of 5.5 hours per week to earn their full award.
  • The actual amount of hours worked per week may vary throughout the academic year according to the student’s course load.
  • Please use the table below in determining the average number of hours you would need to work each week during the academic year to earn your full work-study award.
  • These numbers assume a student will be enrolled for two semesters (30 weeks) and will vary depending upon your actual work-study award amount and your actual wage rate.

Award Amount

Hourly Wage Rate

Avg. Hours Per Week










Terms of Your Employment

  • You may begin your work-study employment on the first day of the semester.
  • Students can work up to 20 hours per week when classes are in session and can work up to 40 hours per week (the maximum) during vacation periods.
  • Hourly rates comply with minimum wage laws and vary depending on the type of work, your experience, and capabilities.
  • Work-study awards may not be extended from one academic year to the next.
  • Work-study is paid generally (after employment commences) semi-monthly by direct deposit.
  • Students may not begin working until the hiring department and the student has completed all of the appropriate documents.
  • If you are working off campus, you must submit a timesheet to be paid.
  • If you are terminated from your position for disciplinary reasons, the Office of Financial Aid may withdraw your federal work-study award.