What is Work-Study?

Understand the federal work-study program

The federal work-study program offers an opportunity for you to earn money while gaining valuable job experience. Eligibility is determined by financial need as indicated on your FAFSA. You can make use of your award by applying to positions that accept your work-study award. Once you have been hired and begin working, you will receive bi-weekly paychecks which will be deducted from your work-study award.

What is community work-study?

The Community Work-Study (CWS) program is still a part of the work-study program at IUPUI, but it refers to the off-campus employers who participate. These are nonprofit organizations in the Indianapolis community that must complete an approval process before hiring work-study eligible students. The CWS program engages community partners and students in meaningful work experiences that not only help partners reach their organizational goals but also help students learn and develop through community-based, real-world experiences. CWS positions can be found on Handshake, our job platform, by checking the "work-study" box under "all filters." This will show you all FWS approved positions, including CWS positions.

Benefits of using work-study

There are many benefits to utilizing your work-study award. Along with financial assistance, you can expect the following benefits:

  • Exemption from FICA taxes (for federal work-study earnings).
  • On the FAFSA, federal work-study earnings are excluded in determining expected family contribution for the next financial year.
  • Gain work experience, with either our communtiy program or on-campus positions.
  • Our community and on-campus employers understand you’re a student first. They’ll be flexible with your class schedule.

How to use your work-study award

Below you'll find instructions, videos, and documents to help you successfully use your work-study award. You can also view the overview video provided here for a quick explanation of how to use your work-study award.

Viewing your award

If you submitted your FAFSA, you could be eligible for the Federal Work-Study Program. View the step-by-step instructions below on how to check your award status. 

How to see if you have a work-study award
  1. Go to One.IU.
  2. Type "view/manage my financial aid information" into the search bar.
  3. Select the term you'd like to view.
  4. If you've been offered a federal work-study award, it'll be listed in your financial aid summary.

Accepting your award

All IUPUI students must accept their award through One.IU to have it applied to their financial aid package. View the below step-by-step instructions on how to do this. 

How to accept your federal work-study award
  1. Log into your Student Center on One.IU
  2. Click on the Financials section to view the drop-down menu
  3. Click on Accept/Decline Award" and click on the appropriate term
  4. Accept the award

Earning your award

Students must apply to a part-time position that accepts federal work-study funds. View the guidelines below on how to find these positions and what is required to link your award to your job.

How to earn your award
  1. Students must apply to part-time positions that accept federal work-study. These positions can be found through Handshake, our job search platform. Once you access Handshake, you can find work-study jobs by checking the "work-study" box under "all filters." Before searching for jobs, be sure to check out our Prepare to Search page to learn about what application materials you'll need before you apply.

  2. Finally, students and their supervisors must complete the Work-Study Authorization Form. This form connects your award to the payroll processor. Complete your portion of the form, then pass it along to your supervisor. 

Tracking your award

Students are responsible for tracking their work-study award. If your award is depleted before the end of the academic year, you have the option to submit an increase request. View the steps below about tracking your award and submitting the increase request form. 

How to track your award
  1. Our Work-Study Calculator can help you determine how long you award will last based on hourly wage, hours per week, and award amount. Our Funds Tracker gives you the option to manually track your award by keeping a record of your bi-weekly paychecks.
  2. If you would like to increase your award amount, you can submit a Federal Work-Study Award Increase Request. If you have any questions about your submission, you can email fwsjobs@iupui.edu. Below are the following requirements:
    • Have worked at least one month in your position.
    • Have exhausted 75% of your award.
    • Have unmet financial need as seen in your financial aid packages.

Frequently asked questions

You will receive your funds in the form of bi-weekly paychecks in accordance with IUPUI's payroll schedule. You have the option of setting up direct deposit with your bank account. If you don't want set up direct deposit, IUPUI will give you a Visa check card. Your paychecks will then be deposited into that card. 

No. Students receive their funds through their bi-weekly paycheck. With every paycheck, the amount earned is deducted from your work-study award. The paycheck will either be direct deposited into your chosen bank account or deposited onto a Visa check card. Once you have earned your money, you are not required to use it for school expenses if you do not want to. This money is yours to use however you need.

There are work-study opportunities available off- and on-campus! Both can be found on our job search platform, Handshake. When you search for work-study positions be sure to check the "work-study" box under "all filters." Then, you'll find positions located on-campus and from our community program.

All work-study positions are part-time. Students can find on-campus positions anywhere from the IT Department to the School of Medicine. Most on-campus employers will accept work-study, it's simply a matter of asking. Our community program includes organizations such as America Reads, the Indiana State Library, the Milk Bank, and New Beginnings. 

In order to receive federal work-study, students must file for the FAFSA. Depending on the your financial need, you may be awarded work-study. To see if you are, you can go to One.IU and type "View/Manage My Financial Aid Information" into the search bar. By navigating to the "View Financial Aid" option, you can see if you were awarded federal work-study. You may also check the "Accept/Decline Awards" section, too.

No. Federal work-study isn't like a loan. Once you accept your award and find a position that accepts work-study, you earn your award in the form of bi-weekly paychecks, and it's your money to keep.