Federal Work-Study (FWS) is an opportunity program that funds jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, which can help pay for college expenses. The program is subsidized by the U.S. Department of Education. Students must be authorized in a job in order to earn FWS funds. Earnings are paid semi-monthly in the form of a paycheck through direct deposit, not deducted from your bill. FWS allows students to earn a determined award amount per academic year in on-campus or off-campus positions.
To be eligible for FWS, students must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and be degree-seeking, enrolled at least half-time, meet Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements, and have remaining need available. “Need” can only be determined by the FAFSA and is defined as the difference between the students COA (cost of attendance) and the students EFC (estimated family contribution). The EFC number is a direct output of the FAFSA and can only be obtained via the FAFSA. Priority will be given to students who submit their FAFSA by the priority deadline.
To verify FWS, log in to eServices. Under the “financial aid” tab, select “financial aid status,” then select “financial aid history” to see the amount awarded.
Any change to enrollment status must be reported to the Federal Work-Study office. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of the FWS award without notice.
Contact the Federal Work-Study office with questions about eligibility or assistance with the verification process. Read the Federal Work-Study Student Handbook for details.
On-campus job opportunities include clerical support, student services, research and laboratory support, computing, accounting, tutoring, security, lifeguarding and other specialized positions.
Students can also apply for a job with one of our nonprofit community service partners. Typical off-campus opportunities include tutoring, disability support services, social services, public safety, gerontology and accounting.
Positions pay competitive hourly wages and offer flexible hours to accommodate academic schedules. Some locations require students to provide their own transportation; however, many off-campus sites are within walking distance of VCU, and several employers are located on the RamRide shuttle route.
All FWS jobs are available through Handshake at VCU. First-time users should click the blue "VCU Sign On" button and log in using their VCU eID and password.
To search, go to the “Jobs” menu and select "Filters." Under the options for various job filters, check the box for "Work Study" to narrow your search to only Federal Work-Study positions.
Jobs are updated daily, so check back often for new openings.
Before applying for a position, students should complete their profile and upload their resume. Each posting will specify whether additional documents such as references, cover letters and writing samples are required.
The job search process is competitive, and many positions are filled early in the academic year. Students awarded FWS are not guaranteed to find a job. Unused FWS awards will not be replaced with another form of financial assistance.
VCU Career Services can help students set themselves apart from other applicants.
Students may apply for as many FWS jobs as they’d like, but are only allowed to accept one position. Workload is limited to 29 hours per week while classes are in session.
The FWS program provides support staff to VCU departments and community organizations in Richmond at little or no cost to the employer.
Federal funds cover 75% of FWS student wages; VCU funds the remaining 25%. Departments are not subject to contributing toward this 25% institutional match. This labor distribution and cost coverage is effective for the 2021-2022 academic year only and will be reevaluated yearly. Read the Federal Work-Study Employer Handbook for details.
Departments interested in hiring a FWS student should:
Please note that FWS is not available after May 9, 2021 for AY 2020-2021. August 10, 2021 is the earliest possible start date for AY 2021-2022.
To participate in the VCU Off-Campus Work-Study program, nonprofit organizations and government agencies should:
Please note that August 10, 2021 is the earliest possible start date for AY 2021-2022.