Federal work study

Federal Work-Study is an employment and need-based program subsidized by the U.S. Department of Education. FWS allows students to earn up to $3,000 per academic year for education and living expenses through employment with authorized on-campus and off-campus organizations.

FWS earnings are paid directly to students. 2020-2021 positions will become available on Handshake in early July.

To be eligible for FWS, undergraduate students must be degree-seeking, enrolled in at least 1 credit hour, and submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Priority will be given to students who submit their FAFSA by March 1 of each year.

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. Students must .

Any change to enrollment status must be reported to the FWS coordinator. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of the FWS award.

Contact the Federal Work Study department with questions about eligibility or assistance with the verification process.

Read the for Federal Work Study Student Handbook deatils.

Job types

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 percent of FWS student wages; VCU funds the remaining 25 percent. This labor distribution and cost coverage is effective for the 2020-2021 academic year only and will be reevaluated on a yearly basis.

Read the Federal Work-Study Employer Handbook for details.

On-campus employers

Departments interested in hiring a FWS student should:

  • Submit a FWS job posting on Handshake.
  • Interview candidates. Request that they bring a copy of their eServices Financial Aid Award Notification to the interview.
  • Once a candidate accepts the job offer, notify your department's HR coordinator to initiate the hiring process.
  • Department HR coordinators will work with the student to complete the hiring process and notify the student and supervisor when they are authorized to begin working.
  • Once the position has been filled, close the position on Handshake.

For Current Employers

  • Termination Request
  • Information Update Form
  • Supervisors should notify their department HR coordinator to complete changes required for existing FWS student positions, such as rate changes, title changes or other adjustments.
  • Supervisors should notify their department HR coordinator when a termination is required for a student position.

Off-campus employers

To participate in the program, nonprofit organizations and government agencies should:

  • Complete the Off-campus Agency Agreement. Email workstudy@vcu.edu to request this document.
  • Mail the agreement and a copy of the IRS letter confirming your nonprofit status to the FWS coordinator. Original signatures are needed on these documents, and faxed copies will not be accepted. These forms must be completed each year. Once the agreement is approved, the organization will receive a copy.
  • All jobs must be posted on Handshake — no exceptions!
  • Interview candidates. Request that they bring a copy of their e-Services Financial Aid Award Notification.
  • Once a candidate accepts the job offer, submit the Hire Request Form.
  • The student will be notified to complete a background check, I-9 form and new hire paperwork. They will also be prompted to register for a new hire orientation.
  • Once the student completes the orientation, a confirmation memo will be sent via email to the supervisor. Under no circumstances can a student begin working prior to the earliest start date indicated on the confirmation memo.
  • Once the position is filled, close the position on Handshake.
  • If there is any additional hiring paperwork required for an organization, it is up to the employer to decide when the student should complete it.

Find a job

Federal Work-Study job opportunities are available through Handshake at VCU.

FWS contact

(804) 828-6181
Office hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.