The Federal Work Study (FWS) Program is a federally funded financial aid program that enables a student to work part-time while attending school.

The hourly pay rate of a Federal Work Study job is partially funded by the federal government, and the remaining balance is funded by the university department in which the student finds work.

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 (specifically, the FAFSA). Students are notified of their financial aid awards through the Office of Admissions and Financial Aid.

Student Eligibility

You must be enrolled in classes full-time (12 or more credits per semester) in order to be eligible to participate in the Federal Work Study program during the fall and spring terms.

Steps to Participate in Work Study

To participate in the Federal Work Study program, you need to:

  1. Accept your Federal Work Study award on My Pitt.
  2. Search for available Federal Work Study positions on Talent Center and apply for a position. The Federal Work Study (FWS) Office does not provide placement assistance.
  3. Once hired, complete all necessary Federal Work Study and onboarding paperwork.
  4. 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. Your earnings will be deposited directly into your personal bank account, if you sign up for Direct Deposit (highly recommended).
  5. Keep track of your gross earnings to make sure you do not exceed your Federal Work Study award. It is the responsibility of the student and supervisor to keep track of earnings.

NOTE: You are not permitted to begin working until you have fulfilled the onboarding requirements and receive an email with your official start date from Student Employment.

Hours and Pay Rates

Each department will determine the hourly pay rate for their student employees. Federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.

During the academic year, you may work no more than 20 hours per week. During the breaks, you may work no more than 40 hours per week. Students typically work 10-15 hours per week. Payment through Federal Work Study 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.


By 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 Work Study award can be reduced or cancelled. In this case, the Federal Work Study office will notify you. It is your responsibility to ensure that your supervisor knows of the change.

Exceeding Federal Work Study Award Amount

If the authorized Federal Work Study 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 will occur when the student has earned 90% of their award. If you are employed in an on-campus position, you will be automatically converted to a student worker unless your supervisor makes different arrangements with Student Employment.


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.


If you plan to change to a different Federal Work Study position you must notify the Work Study Office in writing. You must apply for the new Federal Work Study position via Talent Center.

Job Limits

You may hold more than one Federal Work Study job at a time. Please contact the Federal Work Study Office before attempting to find a second position. Students working with America Reads or JumpStart cannot hold another position at the same time.

To Stop Participating in the Federal Work Study 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 notify your supervisor two weeks in advance. If you leave a job, you should not expect to have earnings replaced by any other type of financial aid.

Please contact our office if you have questions.

Office of Admissions and Financial Aid
Federal Work Study Program
139 University Place, 130 Thackeray Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Phone: 412 624-4119