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Frequently Asked Questions

The Community Work-Study Program is an excellent way for eligible non-profit organizations to maximize payroll through employing a student employee. The organization is able to set the student salary within comparable rates yet only pay 25% of the earnings. The FWS program pays the remaining 75%.

At the same time, students awarded Federal Work-Study (FWS) and employed at a community agency can explore interests while building career skills and earning money to help meet their college cost.

Questions and Answers

Is there a probationary period mandated by UC that a company is expected to uphold for a FWS student?

UC does not mandate a probationary employment period for any FWS students. Your company can implement one if you wish to do so, however UC does not require it.

How quickly can a company start utilizing the FWS program with UC?

Once you determine your need for work-study student assistance, email the required information to the FWS Program Manager. Upon receipt if the information, a contract will be drawn and sent to you for signature. Once the contract is signed, organizations will have their job descriptions posted on the Website, will begin receiving resumes as students apply, and can begin the hiring process. This process can take several weeks.

Are all applicable taxes taken out of the student’s wages?

Yes, since the student’s are actually receiving their bi-weekly paychecks from UC, the university will take care of all payroll matters including deducting all applicable taxes.

What is the maximum amount of money that a student can earn under the Federal Work Study program?

Students are typically awarded $3,000 during the academic year (mid-August through April) and $2,500 during the summer term (May through mid-August). Occasionally, a reduced amount may be offered, depending on the student’s eligibility. As well, when possible, Student Financial Aid will work to increase student FWS award amounts.

How will I know if a student is getting close to their maximum earning potential?

Students will receive bi-weekly updates from the Student Financial Aid Office via email notifying them of how much they have earned in the FWS program for the academic year. In addition, the Student Financial Aid Office will make every effort to assist supervisors and students in monitoring earnings by alerting them via email when a student is approaching their maximum award allotment. At the same time, employers and students should develop a work schedule with overall maximum earnings in mind.

Once a student reaches their earnings limit under the FWS program, can my organization hire that student as their own employee?

Once a student has earned their award amount, a company is more than welcome to continue employing that student as their own employee. From that point forward, the company is required to pay 100% of the student’s wages. The company would also become responsible for adding that student to their payroll and associated processes as the student would no longer be working through UC or under Federal Work-Study guidelines.

Are there minimum/maximum limits for the number of hours a student can work in a week as well as the hourly wage that they can earn?

There is no minimum number of hours that a FWS student must work, though students are not permitted to work more than 24 hours per week in all combined work through UC. Students cannot be paid less than the federal minimum wage (currently $8.10/hour) or other wage minimums set by Ohio. At the same time, students may be paid any rate above minimum wage assuming it is a reasonable, comparable wage. You, as the employer, set the hourly wage; but keep in mind that once a student has earned their annual award amount, they must stop working under the Federal Work-Study program unless the student is eligible for a work-study award increase.

Does a company get to hire their own work-study students or are students placed with an organzation by the university?

Once your organization has signed a contract and submitted a job description, that job will be posted on the Website. You will receive applications as students reply to the ad and apply for the position. It is up to each organization to review the applicaitons, arrange interviews with candidates that they find suitable for the position, and communicate to the students they wish to employ and those applicants they do not hire. UC does not place students with organizations outside of this process.

Is an organization able to employ more than one FWS student?

Yes, an organization can hire as many work-study students as they need and they have funding to hire. Keep in mind that your organization is responsible for reimbursing the university for 25% of the student’s wages, as required by federal regulation, and will be billed quarterly for your share of earnings.

If my organization currently employs a UC student as a regular employee, how do I find out if that student is eligible for the FWS program?

Ask the student if they were awarded Federal Work-Study on their financial aid award. Most students should be able to tell you if they are eligible. You may also contact the FWS Program Manager at 513-556-5487 if you need to confirm a student’s eligibility.

Is my company responsible for covering the workers' compensation for the student employee?

For workers' compensation coverage, the required 7% associated with your 25% employer contribution will be assessed to the employing organization and included in the monthly billing statements as fringe benefits.

Does the university do background checks on work-study students?

UC does not do background checks on any work-study students. It is the responsibility of the employing organization to complete backround checks on the student employee prior to hiring them if such checks are required or desired.


The Federal Work-Study Program Manager in Student Financial Aid will be happy to assist you with determining if your agency is eligible for work-study hiring, reviewing a specific student case or answering FWS payroll-related matters. We want you to be informed as you go into this process and throughout the employment of FWS students.

Federal Work-Study Program Manager
Student Financial Aid Office
University of Cincinnati