Federal Work Study
The Federal Work-Study (FWS) program provides funds for part-time employment to help qualified students finance the cost of post-secondary education. The average award is $3,000 for the academic year; However, the award amount will vary based on the student’s financial need.
For Cuesta College Students
To be eligible for the Federal Work-Study program, a student must;
1. Be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen;
2. Have a valid social security number;
3. Complete the FAFSA. Be sure to indicate interest in Federal-Work Study.
4. Complete the application process for financial aid.
5. Meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
6. Have “unmet need”: To check your “unmet need”:
- Log in to your myCuesta student portal.
- Click on the financial aid applet.
- Click on Award then select Award for Aid Year.
- Select the correct year then push “Submit”.
- Click the Award Overview tab to see the amount of “unmet need” under Need Calculation called “Need”.
7. Be enrolled at least half-time (6 units or more)
1. Submit FAFSA Application
2. Confirm your eligibility for FWS
3. Find a FWS position by going to the Career Connections Federal Workstudy Page and follow the instructions for students. If you have a question or need clarificaiton about a position, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
4. When hired:
- The employer fills out paperwork (FWS Referral Form, Job Description Form, Student Employment Confirmation & Student completes the Short-Term/Temporary Employment Application)
- Signs the Supervisor sections of each document found in the “Federal Work Study Information for Employers”
- Sends documents to Financial Aid where the Director of Financial Aid will sign.
- For Off-Campus FWS positions, your employer will contact the Employment Services Coordinator in Career Connections, who would fill out the paperwork and submit it to Financial Aid where the Director of Financial Aid will sign.
5. Financial Aid Office receives the paperwork and has the Director sign it, then processes as normal and sends it to HR.
6. Financial Aid Office checks Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP). If current status is…
- “Satisfactory” or “Warning” or “SAP Probation Plan”, the student’s paperwork will be processed.
- “Financial Aid Suspension”, the student will need to submit a SAP Appeal Form and if approved, the student’s paperwork will be processed.
7. Financial Aid Office awards the student up to $3000, which is intended to cover the entire academic year.
8. Financial Aid Office sends paperwork to Human Resources.
9. Financial Aid Office contacts the student to have them complete the Federal Work Study Orientation steps.
10. Human Resources contacts the student to arrange TB Testing, Fingerprinting, and New Employee Orientation.
11. HR clears student for work, and notifies the student, supervisor and the Financial Aid coordinator that the student can begin working. (You will need to be clear by the Financial Aid office too before you can start working)
1. If you drop below 6 units, your award will be reassigned to others.
2. If your “unmet need” decreases, then part or all of your award may be reassigned to others.
3. If your Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) changes to “Financial Aid Suspension” or “Review” then your FWS award may be put on hold or reassigned to others.
To search for work study jobs, register for the Cuesta online job database. Once you find an employer that is willing to hire you for a FWS position, make sure that employer submits a completed FWS Referral Form, Job Description Form, Student Employment Confirmation & Student completed Short-Term/Temporary Employment Application to the Financial Aid Office (all forms can be found at Federal Work Study Information For Employers).
1. Check your MyCuesta email often as HR will contact you for the various requirements (Tuberculosis Testing, Fingerprinting, New Hire Paperwork).
2. Note that fingerprinting results may take up to thirty (30) days to arrive; therefore, plan accordingly as you cannot start working until HR clears you and all of your paperwork.
If you qualify for FWS aid, your salary may start at the federal minimum wage or it may be higher, depending on the type of work and required skills. The total award amount depends on the application date, the level of your need, and how much FWS money the school has to award, but is usually $3000 for the full academic year.
Undergraduate students are paid by the hour. Unlike a loan program, money is not paid before you earn it. No FWS student may be paid by commission or fee. Students must be paid by the school directly at least once a month.
The amount you earn cannot exceed your total FWS award. Any overage or overtime must be paid by the employers, out of their own funds. When assigning work hours, the employer or financial aid administrator takes your class schedule and academic progress into consideration. When classes are in session, students cannot work more than 20 hours in a given week or 8 hours a day.
For Cuesta College Departments or Off-Campus Employers
Follow these steps to hire a Federal Work Study (FWS) student:
1. Set up an employer account at the Cuesta Jobs Link to post a "Federal Work-Study" position.
2. Have the student fill out the Short-Term/Temporary Employment Application (they can download it as a PDF, sign it and send it to you.
3. Department/Supervisor can fill out the Student Employment Confirmation (new microsoft form) and then they will recieve an email from Adobe sign with a link to the full template Student Employment Confirmation. They will be required to attach the Student Application, Referral & Job Description (filled out and signed digitally) before submitting.
4. The forms will be delegated electronically for processing.
5. Once the forms are completed all parties will receive a final copy for their records (department, hiring manager, student, and FWS Coordinator)
6. HR will contact the student for the new hire process or returning hire process (which may include TB Testing and Fingerprinting).
7. Human Resources will contact the Department for a start date and they will notify them that a student is cleared for work.
8. Need an Off-Campus placement? Contact the Employment Services Coordinator in Career Connections.
- Not every student is eligible for FWS! Students must be in 6 units and meet Title IV eligibility requirements, award amounts vary and start at $3,000 for the academic year.
- Need to check eligibility? Contact our FWS Coordinator Alejandra Aguirre
- Timesheets are due the 20th of each month to the (to the FWS Coordinator).
- Timecards received late will be processed the following month. We are currently setting up Adobe Sign timecards and will communicate to students and supervisors when the process is complete.
- FWS will only pay for hours the student works as of the date they are cleared to work by HR. FWS students can work no more than 8 hours a day or 20 hours a week.
Do Not Allow a Student to Work Until They Have Been Cleared to Work by HR!
Students Who Work Before They Clear HR Must Be Paid Out of Your Department's Funds!