A student worker showing his phone to a staff member

Federal Work Study

What is Federal Work-Study?

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a financial aid program that allows students to work on-campus or with approved off-campus community service employers to earn money to pay for college expenses.  FWS is not a grant (you must work to earn it), and it is not a loan (you do not have to repay it).  Eligible students are awarded FWS when they complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  Being awarded FWS with financial aid can help a student be eligible for part-time jobs, both on- and off-campus, that they may not have otherwise been eligible for.  The FWS program encourages employment in community service and in fields related to your major of study.  There are many FWS jobs available to choose from, but unlike BSE positions, FWS jobs are funded through Student Financial Services.

There are many benefits to having a FWS position.  Here are just a few highlights…

  • Convenience - When working in a FWS position, typically you can schedule your work between classes and activities!
  • Mentoring - You will soon find that by working in a FWS position, you will become very connected to many faculty and staff.  Networking with these university constituents and/or off-campus employers can only benefit you.  Keep in mind that when you graduate from Belmont University and apply for your first professional job or admission into Graduate school, almost 100% of the time you will be asked to submit a reference for a faculty or staff member who can speak of your work ethic and professionalism.
  • Flexibility – We understand that as a student you are here to learn first.  Therefore, most supervisors are flexible with your work schedule, especially during difficult times like finals!
  • Variety - From health care to clerical, and from project planning to working with children, there are many different kinds of jobs available that you can apply for! 
  • Experience - Working in a FWS position is a great resume builder!  If you want to make yourself more marketable after you graduate, having campus employment on your resume demonstrates responsibility and leadership! 
  • Financial Assistance – You can use the money that you earn from your FWS position to help pay for extra costs that you have while attending Belmont, such as books, transportation, food, rent, personal expenses, etc. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Eligibility is determined based on the information that you provided on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  There are many factors that contribute to your eligibility for FWS, but the most important criteria to meet in order to even be considered are:

  • You must submit a FAFSA
  • You must request FWS on the FAFSA 
  • You must be eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid 
  • You must have unmet financial need

Eligible students are awarded FWS at the time they are awarded other financial aid by Student Financial Services.  You can log into your myBelmont account to review your financial aid award package.  FWS will be listed along with the other financial aid in your award.  If you are still unsure, feel free to call Student Financial Services at 615-460-6403.

Generally, we award FWS to students up front if they are eligible.  However, there are times throughout the year that some students can gain eligibility and more FWS funds become available.  If you wish to be considered for FWS, a few qualifications need to be met first:

  • You must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • You must request FWS on the FAFSA 
  • You must be eligible to receive Federal Financial Aid 
  • You must have unmet financial need 
  • You have contacted the Student Financial Services to have your name added to a wait list

Students are strongly encouraged to attend the Student Employment Job Fair. Dates and locations are announced annually. Department representatives will be there highlighting their positions and recruiting student workers for the year.  Immediately following the Job Fair, all students will have access and be directed to apply online for FWS positions.  Students must complete an application online in order to even be considered for a position.

No, you do not need to re-apply online to be re-hired to a position you have previously held. Students will need to contact their departmental supervisor to inform them of their interest in working again.

Once you have completed your FWS job application online, you will be contacted shortly by the department representative for an interview.  If after the interview you are offered the position by the on-campus department or approved off-campus community service agency, you will need to go to Belmont Central to complete necessary hiring paperwork which includes:

  • I-9: Employment Eligibility Verification Form (with supporting documentation listed here)

Once these forms have been done and the Student Worker Orientation Training has been completed, your supervisor will be in contact to let you know of a start date.

No, your FWS earnings will not be provided to you in a lump sum in advance.  Just like in any other job, you will earn your FWS funds and only be paid for the hours you have worked.

No, your FWS earnings will not automatically be applied toward any account balance you have with Belmont University.  Instead, you will receive a paycheck for all of the hours you have worked.  After receiving your paycheck, you can then make payments on your student account if a balance has accrued. 

Rather than Belmont University applying your FWS earnings toward your student account, you will receive your earnings in the form of a paycheck.  You can use your paycheck earnings to pay for other educational expenses (i.e., books, transportation, food, rent, personal expenses, etc.).

On-Campus FWS student workers track their hours worked using the Web Time Entry (WTE) system. Off-Campus FWS student workers track their hours worked using a paper timesheet provided by their supervisor. Students must have their time submitted every other Friday, according to the Pay Period Schedule.

Students working on-campus will earn $10 per hour.  Students working with an approved off-campus community service agency will earn $15.00 per hour.  Off-campus positions pay more as transportation costs (fuel, auto expenses, etc.) are taken into consideration.

The amount of money that you earn cannot exceed your total FWS award.  You can calculate the number of hours a week you can work by following the instructions below:

  • Step 1. Determine your Pay Rate ($10 or $15.00).
  • Step 2. Divide your total award by (2) and you will have your award per semester. 
  • Step 3. Divide this figure by your hourly pay rate and you will have the number of hours per semester needed to earn your award. 
  • Step 4. Divide this figure by 16 (there are 16 weeks in the semester).

This will give you the number of hours per week you will need to work in order to earn your award each semester. Your award is broken into two semesters in order to help you budget your earnings.

Total Award $2000
Award for semester $1000
Pay Rate $10 per hour
$1000 ÷ $10 = 100 hours
100 hours ÷ 16 weeks = approximately 6.25 hours per week a student will need to work in order to earn the full award during the academic school year.

You can use this formula anytime during the year to figure out how many hours you need to work.  This is also especially helpful if you are starting your FWS position mid-semester.

Some students choose to work more hours per week in order to receive a larger paycheck.  In this case it is important for the student to remember that he/she will be earning his/her FWS award a lot quicker and will most certainly earn their full award before the end of the academic school year.  Students are allowed to work up to but not more than 20 hours a week during the academic year. 

When you have earned your entire award your FWS position ends and you must stop working.  Some employers opt to hire students as regular departmental student employees once their FWS award is gone. This is at the discretion of the employer.

If you do not earn your entire fall semester award, the balance will be carried over and added to your spring semester, assuming you are enrolled and maintain eligibility.  However, any unused award at the end of spring semester will be forfeited. 

FWS students are a huge asset to the university and community, and provide exceptional services throughout the year.  FWS students are expected to act professionally and with integrity in their position.  Students are expected to show up on time when scheduled to work, and to perform their job duties as defined by their supervisor.  If you are ill, you are expected to call your supervisor with as much notice as possible.  Arranging for other “time off” should be requested with your supervisor with a least two weeks notice.

Yes, Belmont University has established a relationship with many off-campus organizations where students can utilize their FWS award.  The majority of these approved organizations are not-for-profit and have a mission to benefit the greater Nashville community.  Please peruse the list of available off-campus positions if you are interested. If you know an off-campus employer you want to work for and they are not an approved organization with Belmont University’s FWS program, feel free to contact Student Financial Services to inquire about the Off-Campus Community Service Program Agreement.

Yes, students are allowed to have up to, but not more than (2) FWS positions at one time assuming that their class schedule allows them the free time to do so.  It is important to mention that if a student has (2) FWS positions he/she will most likely be working more hours and earning their FWS award at a quicker pace.  Also keep in mind that you are only allowed to work up to 20 hours a week for all FWS positions combined.

Students who have not graduated and those who plan to return to school after the break period may work during those breaks (winter and spring break). Students are allowed to work 29 hrs./wk. during break periods with the approval of their supervisor, and only if the student has FWS funds remaining.

FWS jobs are very plentiful and there are almost always more jobs than there are students to fill them. If you are not hired for the first FWS job don't be discouraged, try another.  There are FWS jobs that will fit almost anyone's schedule, skills, and interests.  In the rare situation that you are not hired after several attempts, feel free to contact Student Financial Services for assistance.

Yes! Students who are not eligible for FWS can still work on-campus in jobs that are open and available to all students, not just FWS.  These jobs are most commonly referred to as Belmont Student Employment (BSE) positions and are funded entirely by the department/university.  BSE students can find and apply for jobs year round.  BSE students will also need to complete the hiring paperwork (I-9, W-4, and Direct Deposit enrollment form) at Belmont Central upon hiring.

Yes, FWS earnings are considered taxable income.  However, you are FICA tax-exempt. The Payroll Department will send each student a W-2 by January 31st each year highlighting their earned income and taxes paid. Unlike the money you earn from non-FWS employment positions, your earnings will not be used to determine your financial need when filing the FAFSA the following year.

When completing your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the next academic school year, you will be asked to report FWS earnings.  The U.S. Department of Education excludes these earnings from your total earned income when determining your financial need. This is a major benefit of having and using your FWS award.

Student Financial Services is located on the 1st floor in the Gabhart Student Center. You may either visit SFS in person, contact them via telephone (615-460-6403), or contact Amanda Beaty by e-mail at amanda.beaty@belmont.edu.