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Federal Work Study Program

The Federal Work Study Program (FWS) is a government-subsidized student employment program designed to assist students in financing their post-secondary education. FWS is different from other types of part-time jobs because your employer only has to pay a percentage of your wages – the remaining is paid by FWS.

Federal Work Study (FWS) is for undergraduate, graduate, and professional students enrolled at least part time at Vanderbilt. FWS is granted to US citizens and qualifying non-citizens based on demonstrated financial need. 

To be eligible for Federal Work Study (FWS) funds, you must demonstrate financial need every year by completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Be sure to request FWS on the FAFSA.

If an employee has Federal Work Study (FWS) funding as part of their financial aid offer, these funds may be used for 70% of the student’s wage, with the other 30% coming from the department. When the student has used their FWS allotment, the department will be responsible for 100% of funding. This is only available for on-campus, VUMC, and PENCIL Foundation jobs.

While a student can save money earned through Federal Work Study (FWS) to pay for future school terms, this funding is not the same as gift aid. Students must earn their FWS through biweekly or monthly paid employment.

The goal of this money is to help financially needy students support themselves and their incidental costs like books, travel, and other expenses related to daily life. In short, this money is pocket money or an opportunity to save.

Federal Work Study (FWS) funding is calculated through demonstrated need. Factors for this include income, family size, additional family members in college, and any other information included in the FAFSA. This amount will be visible in your financial aid offer, but is not applied to tuition at the start of the semester.

Additionally, students are not cut off from earning when they surpass their award amount. Instead, their funding will then come from departmental funds, rather than being a combination of departmental and FWS funding.

Federal Work Study (FWS) funds a wide variety of jobs on campus and the Nashville community. Major employers of FWS students include, but are not limited to campus dining, libraries, and research labs. More jobs can be found on our job board, HireaDore.

Community service positions may be in a department, work unit, or Vanderbilt partner that provides services open and accessible to the community. These include:

  • Libraries and art galleries open to and accessible to the public.
  • Health care fields, including temporary positions offered through Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC.)
  • Childcare for the community (cannot include childcare for VU staff only).
  • Literacy training and education (including tutorial services) in public schools, such as the PENCIL Foundation.
  • Community improvement projects.
  • Emergency prepared­ness and response.
  • Support services for students with disabilities (this may include stu­dents with disabilities who are enrolled at Vanderbilt University.

Employers, please be sure to use the correct position name/JCAT for those students who are in community service assignments. FWS Community Service positions should have “CS” within the position name. Please view the table below for a list of Community Service FWS position names. 

FWS UG CS Math Tutor               FWS Grad/Prof CS Math Tutor

FWS UG CS Student                     FWS Grad/Prof CS Student

FWS UG CS Read Tutor               FWS Grad/Prof CS Read Tutor