Federal Work-Study Student FAQ

Why wasn't I offered Federal Work-Study?

First, please be aware you do not need to have been offered FWS to work on campus. There are great opportunities that are open to all students on our General Job Board​​.

The funds for this federal program are left to the discretion of the institution to provide and utilize. Because FWS is a form of need-based aid, why a specific student is or is not offered FWS will be unique in each case. This funding source is very limited, so priority is given to:

  • Continuously enrolled undergraduate students who earned work-study at Ohio State the year prior.
  • New students who have satisfied certain eligibility criteria during initial offering, which typically occurs at the end of March.

Further reasons students typically are not offered FWS:

  • Exceed the Expected Family Contribution​ (EFC) component (varies per year).*
  • Do not have enough Financial Need to encompass the offer or the Financial Need is satisfied completely by scholarships and grants.
  • Did not indicate interest in the program on the FAFSA at the time the student's aid was packaged.*
  • Missed financial aid priority dates due to late/delayed admission to Ohio State or late verification/appeal completion.  Funding availability will determine whether we can offer FWS to these students.

*This eligibility component is not a factor for continuously enrolled students who used work-study funds the previous year.

If you meet the criteria but were not offered FWS, you may contact us at sfa-jobs@osu.edu to review your account for FWS eligibility.

What do I need to do to receive my offer?


If you have been offered FWS, please be sure to read the Federal Work-Study Student Employee Manua​l​​ ​for more information on the terms and conditions of your offer. If you are unsure of your status, contact us at sfa-jobs@osu.edu.

  1. Accept your work-study offer from your Financial Aid Summary. Within 24-48 hours after accepting, your job applications in Workday will display a FWS Eligible flag to hiring managers that review applications.
  2. Locate and apply for a work-study job from the Workday Job Board, interview for the position.
  3. After your interview, the department contact will let you know if you have been hired for the position. The employer's human resource representative will help you complete all necessary payroll forms within Workday before you begin working.

What do I need to do to keep my FWS offer?

Since Federal Work-Study is a federal financial aid program, you must meet all the eligibility criteria required for receipt of federal aid, including Satisfactory Academic Progress​​​​. In addition, you must maintain at least half-time enrollment to be eligible to work on FWS.

How do I get my money?

Once you are hired into a Federal Work-Study job and have completed all needed payroll paperwork, you will submit timesheets every week. You will receive your funds biweekly by direct deposit for the hours that you reported on your time sheet approximately two weeks later.


Note: Your Federal Work-Study offer is intended to help with your living expenses and other indirect educational costs. No money from your Federal Work-Study offer will be available to help you pay fees at the start of each term. Due to the eligibility requirements necessary to use the offer, Work-Study funds should not be used as a sole source of income.

I have been working all semester in a work-study job. How much work-study funding do I have left?

Your employer pays you from the amount you are offered, which decreases over the course of the year as you earn paychecks. Check your Financial Aid Summary in My Buckeye Link. The balance will update after the check date for each pay period.


Can I work as many hours as I want?

No, the amount you earn can't exceed your total FWS offer. Additionally, Ohio State limits anyone working in a student-employee status to a total of 28 hours of work per week in university employment, 20 hours of which may be paid by FWS.

Can I have more than one work-study job?

Yes, provided you do not exceed working 20 hours a week combined between all employers. While not mandatory, it is best practice to enter your time into your timesheet daily.  You will be able to see all of the hours you are submitting for each employer on one calendar in the timesheet system, so entering time daily will help you know if you are close to working too many hours before that actually happens.

I'm finding both work-study and regular wage positions on the job board.  Does it matter which ones I apply for?

Some student positions are created as work-study only, some are regular wage-only, and some are both!  Positions that can be paid using work-study funds will have a work-study keyword flag on the job post, so you should be able to perform a keyword search on the job board to locate them.  You also have the option of exploring the different Student Employment search portals on Workday, too. You may apply for any student position, however if you are hired into a regular wage only position, this means you will be paid by the department, rather than from your FWS funds.  Just be aware that if none of your FWS funds are used, you may not be automatically considered to participate in the program the following year.  Conversely, students who do not qualify for work-study cannot be considered for work-study only positions.

Are Federal Work-Study jobs on campus or off campus?

Both! If you work on campus, you will work for Ohio State. If you work off campus, you will still be employed by Ohio State, but your work site will be a private nonprofit organization or a public agency, and the work performed will be in the public interest.

Are there work from home positions?

While there aren't many, there are sometimes telework options available. On the job board you may perform a keyword search such as "remote", "telework", "virtual", "home" to locate work from home options. Just know that the Location field on the job posts refers to the home campus for the employer, which is why it's not useful to locate telework options. 

How much can I make? Are there limits to how much I can make in one semester?

Current pay rates range from Ohio minimum wage to $14.17 per hour, depending on the skill required for the particular job. Regardless of the rate of pay, you cannot earn more than the amount you were offered for the​​ year, although theoretically you can earn the entire annual amount you have been offered all in one semester if you work enough hours. Bear in mind, the higher your rate of pay and the more frequently you work, the quicker you might earn all of your funds for the year.

I love my job, but I'm almost out of work-study funding. What can I do?

Federal Work-Study funding is extremely limited. While we cannot promise that we will have enough funding to honor every request to increase an offer that has otherwise been exhausted, we would like the opportunity to review your case. Only if you are within $500 of having exhausted your initial offer, contact sfa-jobs@osu.edu.

In cases where there is either no further funding available or you are not eligible to receive further need-based aid for the year, we would encourage you to discuss with your employer the possibility of being paid with departmental funding. This is entirely up to the employer. If it is an option, your employer will work with their human resources professional to make the necessary adjustment to your employment record.

What happens if I don't earn all (or any) of the work-study funding I was offered by the end of the year?

Work-study funds are offered per academic year, just like the rest of your federal financial aid.  The only way to receive work-study funds is by earning paychecks, and you have until the end of the academic year to do so.  Some students will exhaust their work-study offer before the academic year is over, while others will not work enough to exhaust their offer.  Any work-study funds that are remaining at the end of the year will not roll over to the next academic year (which starts in Summer Term), nor can they be "cashed out".  

Can I use FWS during the summer?

At Ohio State, FWS eligibility is tied to a student’s current enrollment for that term, and summer is the start of our academic year.  A student can use FWS during the summer term provided that they are offered with FWS for the new academic year, and are fulfilling the same financial aid and enrollment eligibility criteria as they would during autumn or spring semesters.

Any combination of Summer Term, 8-Week, 6-Week, or 4-Week Sessions can be used to meet the 6 credit hour minimum enrollment requirement during summer.  Be advised that the workload for summer courses can be rather heavy due to the truncated nature of the courses.  Consider this as you decide if working in summer while taking 6 credit hours or more is a good choice for you.  A student can begin working in summer when all HR steps for hire/rehire have been completed.  It bears repeating, students that drop below half time at any point in the term immediately cease to be eligible to earn work-study funds. 

Sometimes taking classes in summer simply to have access to a work-study job is not a good option big-picture.  We would strongly suggest any student who relies on need-based aid to pay fees discuss with a Buckeye Link counselor whether attending in summer will impact any of the other offers in their financial aid package.  If you then determine attending classes in summer is not a good option for you from a financial aid standpoint, you may review the job opportunities for summer employment available to all students on our general job board​.

Please also be aware, using FWS during the summer means you could have three terms worth of time in which to earn your FWS offer instead of two.  This can result in a student exhausting their offer sooner than anticipated.  While we are always happy to review student accounts when they have reached a FWS balance of $500 or less, we cannot promise that we will be able to increase existing offers.  We also cannot consider increasing existing offers until financial aid packaging and appeals for students returning in autumn has been completed, which is usually mid-September. 

To work in summer 2021, students must be: