The Federal Work Study Program is a federally funded financial aid program that enables a student to work part-time while attending school. The federal government pays for a portion of your earnings and the department that you work for pays the remaining portion.
All students who apply for financial aid by the appropriate deadline dates are reviewed for eligibility. Students must have financial need, which is determined by the information that is submitted on the required financial aid applications. Students are notified of their financial aid awards through the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.
Eligible students that want to be employed through the Federal Work Study program you must sign the Student Acceptance Form that is enclosed with your award letter and return it to the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. You cannot participate in Work Study until you return a completed Student Acceptance Form.


Work Study Registration

At the beginning of each fall term the Financial Aid Office provides general Work Study information sessions. If you were notified of a Work Study award in your financial aid award letter and completed and signed a Student Acceptance Form, you will receive information regarding the dates and times of these sessions in late July and early August. These information sessions are designed to acquaint you with how to take advantage of the Work Study program at Pitt. At these sessions, you will receive and learn about payroll forms that need to be completed to become a University employee. In addition you will learn how to access FWS jobs on PittSource, how to complete the necessary payroll paperwork and how to access the biweekly pay schedule.


When you secure a FWS job, you and your supervisors are responsible to ensure the required paperwork is completed in a timely manner. Each week you and your supervisor are responsible to accurately record and submit hours that you worked. Time must be submitted into PRISM Trks following the calendar determined by the University Payroll department. You will have your earnings deposited directly into a personal bank account.


Steps to Participate in Work Study

Students participating in the Federal Work Study program need to:

  1. Accept your FWS award and complete the Student Acceptance Form;
  2. Attend an information session and receive your FWS forms and payroll information;
  3. Review the available FWS positions on PittSource to find and apply for a job of interest;
  4. Complete all necessary FWS and Payroll paperwork;
  5. Keep track of your gross earnings to make sure you do not exceed your FWS award. It is the responsibility of the student and supervisor to keep track of earnings.



The Federal Work Study Office does not provide personnel placement. Students make their own job selections. Students are expected to initiate the placement process by accessing PittSource and completing the job application process.


Hours and Pay Rates

Each department and their supervisors will determine the hourly pay rate for students seeking employment in their department.


Students typically work 10-15 hours per week. University student employment policy limits student employment to not more than 20 hours per week during the academic year. Students may work no more than 40 hours per week during the summer. Payment through FWS earnings are based on an hourly rate for actual hours worked. Students who are absent due to illness, holidays, or other reasons are not paid or given credit for their time missed. Students are not paid for time taken for meals.


Authorized Federal Work Study Awards

Students who apply for financial aid will receive an official financial aid award letter from the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. If you are eligible for Federal Work Study, the FWS award will be listed in the award letter. You and your supervisor are expected to monitor your gross earnings to ensure that the dollars actually earned do not exceed the FWS award amount, which appears in the student’s Award Letter and on the FWS Job Permit Card. If the authorized FWS award amount is exceeded, the department or organization hiring the student is responsible for the amount which exceeds the award. Inactivation of a Federal Work Study student may be necessary for students who earn more than their FWS award.



In accepting financial aid awards, students agree to provide any additional documentation requested by an authorized University official to verify information given on the original financial aid application. The University reserves the right to reduce or cancel an award in cases where there is conflicting or missing information. In addition, if the total awarded financial aid exceeds your federally determined eligibility, a FWS award can be reduced or cancelled. In this case, the FWS office will attempt to notify your supervisor but it is the student’s responsibility to ensure that his/her supervisor knows of the change.


Summer Federal Work Study

If sufficient funds are available, students who were employed during the regular school year will be given an opportunity to apply for Summer Federal Work Study awards. Students and supervisors are notified in February of the preceding spring term with regard to planning for the summer program. The Application for Summer Employment through the FWS program will be sent to qualified students. Awards are made on a first-come, first-served basis and are limited. Priority is given to those who apply by the deadline date on application.


Your Rights and Responsibilities


Students are responsible to their supervisors for punctual, regular, and efficient performance of job duties. Supervisors must be notified in advance of any time off or absence.



Students are expected to remain in their chosen job for the entire semester, September to December (Fall term), January to April (Spring term), and May to August (Summer term). If you quit your job mid semester, you cannot begin a new position until the start of the next semester. If you plan to work a different job for the spring term (January), you must notify the Federal Work Study Office in writing and must pick up a new FWS packet for the spring term. The new paperwork must be returned to the Federal Work Study Office as soon as possible.


One Job Limit

You cannot hold more than one Federal Work Study job at a time. Also, no student can hold a Federal Work Study job and a non-Federal Work Study job within the University at the same time.


To Cease Participation in the FWS Program

If you intend to withdraw from the Federal Work Study Program, either temporarily or permanently, you must advise your supervisor and the Work Study Office. You should try to give two weeks notice to your supervisor.


Maximum Hours

During the academic year, you may work no more than 20 hours per week. During the summer, you may work no more than 40 hours per week. Students are not paid for lunch hours, holidays, or time off.


Loss of Earnings

If you leave a job, you should not expect to have earnings replaced by any other type of financial aid.


Student Eligibility

You must be enrolled on a full-time basis to be eligible to participate in the FWS during the fall/spring term. (No enrollment during the summer term is required for participation in the Summer Work Study Program).


Please contact our office if you have questions.
Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
Federal Work Study Program
4227 Fifth Ave, 120 Alumni Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260-6601
Phone: 412 624-7147 or 412 624-4119