The Federal Work-Study Program for Graduate Students

What is Federal Work Study (FWS)?

Federal Work-Study provides funds for part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. It is a form of financial aid that is provided to eligible students through the FAFSA.

Who is eligible?

Students must complete the FAFSA before March 1st to have maximum eligibility for FWS. Only United States citizens are eligible for FWS funds. Eligible students will also need to have what is called financial need as determined by the FAFSA. This is calculated by the total cost of attendance of the university (COA) minus the estimated family contribution (EFC), which is calculated by the financial information entered on the FAFSA. All students who apply for a federal work study position will need to complete the FAFSA and demonstrate a financial need according to the equation above. For more information about eligibility please reach out to the Student Financial Aid Office at 207.581.1324

I was not eligible during my undergraduate, am I eligible now?

Maybe, but you have to complete the FAFSA to be certain. Most students are considered dependents of their parents or guardians during their undergraduate career. However, once a student begins pursuing an advanced degree, the FAFSA considers them an independent student. This can significantly change the way the FAFSA looks at your finances. This means that even if you were not eligible for FWS in your undergraduate years, you may be eligible now.

I was not awarded FWS this year, what do I do now?

The FAFSA looks at financial data from 2 years prior to the application year. Sometimes this data does not accurately reflect the student’s current situation. If this is the case and you have supporting financial data, backing documentation, and a job that requires FWS you may be eligible to file an appeal through the Student Financial Aid Office. Not everyone is eligible for an appeal and it can take up to 30 days for a decision to be made. Before making this decision you will want to reach out to the Student Financial Aid Office to determine the best course of action. Additionally, here is a link to the Student Financial Aid Office’s page about appeals.

Bottom Line:

Complete the FAFSA each year, as soon as possible. Each new FAFSA application window opens on October 1st and the priority deadline for a maximum award is March 1st. You may be eligible now even if you were not eligible in previous years. Contact the Student Financial Aid Office for any aid specific questions. 207.581.1324 or