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Federal Work Study

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a program subsidized by the federal government that provides part-time job opportunities for students who have need-based financial aid eligibility.

FWS is a great way to earn money to help pay for your educational expenses. Along with gaining valuable work experience, FWS employers understand you are a college student first and are typically very flexible in scheduling.

FWS is limited, but on-campus jobs are not. Even if you are not awarded work-study, there are employment opportunities available to students on campus. You can find job listings on Mustang Jobs.


To be eligible for Federal Work-Study, you must:

  • Have financial need, as determined by the FAFSA application.
  • Be enrolled in at least 6 units (4 units if you're a graduate student).
  • Maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) requirements.
  • Attend a FWS workshop in the fall. The financial aid office will email you information if you have not attended a workshop in the past. You can also look over the materials beforehand.
  • Accept the FWS award on your My Cal Poly Portal by September 1, or it will be cancelled. If you do not work fall quarter but plan to work during winter quarter, you must notify the Financial Aid Office by Thanksgiving to avoid FWS cancellation.

Finding a Job

Federal Work-Study positions are available throughout campus. All FWS jobs are posted beginning September 1 through Mustang Jobs on the My Cal Poly Portal.

You may begin working as early as the first day of the fall term, provided your financial aid award is final and you meet the eligibility requirements. You will also need to complete the necessary employee forms and submit your Social Security Card and Photo ID to Payroll Services. They can also assist you in signing up for direct deposit.

Tracking Work-Study Hours

The Federal Work-Study award amount is the maximum amount you may earn through FWS during the academic year. You and your employer will need to keep track of your hours. Students with federal work-study are limited to working a maximum of 20 hours per week.

Getting Paid

FWS funds are earned and paid in the form of a monthly paycheck; they are not applied to your student account the same way that other financial aid funds are. Paychecks are disbursed on the first working day of each month at the Student Accounts Office (01-211).

Understanding Federal Work-Study Workshop

Still have questions? This video covers work-study, how it differs from other student employment, how you can find a job, and how to use the student pay system.