Federal Work Study FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Federal Work-Study program?

Federal Work-Study is a need-based, federal financial aid program.  Under this program, funds are given to institutions by the federal government for distribution to students in need.  Currently, the Financial Aid Office for the University of Illinois selects the students who are eligible for the federal work study award.

I accepted the Federal Work Study grant as part of my financial aid, what happens next?

The Federal Work Study status designation is an incentive for an on campus employer to hire you and maximize your hours.  You must apply for a student position and become employed by a unit for the funds to begin being used.  Working as a FWS student helps subsidize the cost of employing you as a worker so the actual credit goes to our department and is an incentive for Campus Recreation to hire FWS employees.

Why does Campus Recreation require confirmation of my FWS status on my application?

In the past we have had individuals simply claim the status without actually being designated as Federal Work Status and this allows us to easily ascertain applicants who do have the status.

I’ve heard Campus Recreation guarantees jobs to FWS individuals, is this true?

No, while it is a factor in our employment decisions, all hiring supervisors are instructed to consider it as one of multiple factors in our hiring decisions.  The vast majority of student workers are not federal work-study.

I am unsure how I can provide proof of my status; how do I view my financial aid award letter?

Visit the Employment section of the Office of Student Financial Aid's website for more information.

I am an international student, am I eligible for Federal Work-Study status?

Generally, International or foreign students do not qualify for the Federal Work-Study program.  You must be one of the following to receive federal student aid:

  • U.S. citizen
  • U.S. national (includes natives of American Samoa or Swain’s Island)
  • U.S. permanent resident who has an I-151, I-551, or I-551C (Permanent Resident Card).  If you are not in one of these categories, you must have an Arrival-Departure Record (I-94) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) showing one of the following designations:
    • “Refugee”
    • “Asylum Granted”
    • “Cuban-Haitian Entrant, Status Pending”
    • “Conditional Entrant”: valid only if issued before April 1, 1980
    • Victims of human trafficking, T-visa holder or if the student’s parent is the holder of a T-1 visa.
    • “Parolee”: You must be paroled into the United States for at least one year and you must be able to provide evidence from the USCIS that you are in the United States for other than a temporary purpose and that you intend to become a U.S. citizen or permanent resident.

What should I do if I am interested in gaining Federal Work-Study status?

Students who wish to apply for the Federal Work-Study Program must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  On the FAFSA application, there will be an option that asks if the student would like to be considered for the work-study program.  This option must be checked by the applicant.  This will ensure that the student is considered for the Federal Work-Study program.  Since funds are limited, individuals should send in their FAFSA as soon as possible for full consideration.  Please contact Financial Aid with additional questions.