Federal Work Study (FWS) Program

What Is The Federal Work Study (FWS) Program?

The Federal Work Study (FWS) program is a federally-funded work program that allows GW students who have received a Federal Work Study award from the Office of Student Financial Assistance (OSFA) to earn money through a part-time job during the academic year. If you have been offered and accepted FWS funding as part of your GW financial aid package, you are eligible to hold a FWS position. Participation is optional - in other words, just because you accepted a FWS award as part of your financial aid package this does not mean you are under any obligation to work in a FWS position. However, you will only earn your FWS award money if you work in a FWS position.

Undergraduate students are considered for Federal Work Study by the Office of Student Financial Assistance based on their eligibility for need-based financial assistance from the university. Graduate students who wish to receive a Federal Work Study award must apply for it directly through the Office of Student Financial Assistance. All students with questions about the status or details of their FWS award should contact them for assistance.

How Do I Get A FWS Job?

Like all student positions, student wage positions are most easily found through HandshakeTry using search filters to look for the job type "on-campus student employment" - this will help you locate all FWS jobs, both with on-campus departments and off-campus FWS partner organizations. Federal Work Study jobs are marked by stating either "FWS" or "Federal Work Study" in the job title. Most employers search for students to fill positions close to the beginning of the Fall semester each year, but there are some opportunities posted throughout the year as the need arises as well. If you are interested in working for a specific department or organization, you may consider reaching out to that department with a well-worded, polite email expressing your interest and inquiring whether any student positions may become available soon. Keep in mind that as the school year progresses, it becomes more difficult to find a position.

Students are strongly encouraged to visit the Center for Career Services for help with resumes, cover letters, and overall job search strategies to increase your chances of securing a position. Students are allowed to have only one FWS job at any given time, although you may hold another on-campus student wage (non-FWS) position at the same time.

I Was Offered A FWS Position! What Now?

Once an employer has agreed to hire you into a FWS position, there are still a number of things that have to be done before you may start working:

  1. The employer who wishes to hire you must give you an offer letter with your new position and wage information. Sign the offer letter using your physical signature and return it to them.
  2. You will also need to give your employer a signed copy of your Employment Authorization Form (EAF) (you can access this via GWeb - instructions here).
  3. Once you have returned the signed offer letter and EAF to your employer, they will submit a hire request online to Student Employment.
  4. You will receive instructions via email from Student Employment about what is required from you during the hiring process. This may include a background check, an I-9 form, and/or updated tax forms.
  5. Do not start working until you have received a confirmation email from Student Employment saying that you have been officially hired and may now begin working.

BEFORE YOU START WORKING you must receive notice from Student Employment that you have been completely hired and are allowed to start working. Even if you have completed all necessary paperwork, you are not yet cleared to begin unless you have been specifically notified by us. This notification will come to your GW email account and will contain the words "FINAL NOTIFICATION" in the subject line, and instructions on how to record your hours in the body. If you started working before you have received that notice - STOP! It is illegal to work without being officially hired by the university, and you are not yet on the university's payroll. Please get in touch with our office so that we can help you and your supervisor complete the necessary paperwork before you continue working.

STUDENTS UNDER 18 will need a DC Work Permit before beginning work. Instructions and the work permit application form can be found here.