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Student Work-Study Handbook

Step-by-Step Overview

  • Complete your FAFSA
  • Understand Your Award
  • Find a Work-Study Job
  • Obtain a EAF and Begin Working
  •  Verify your work-study status
  • Follow the Work-Study Employment Policies and Regulations
  • Monitor your financial aid file and UMail regularly 


Full details Checklist

Student Handbook

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a form of need-based federal financial aid. FWS provides opportunities for students to work on campus (or at an approved off-campus position) while enrolled at the University of Utah. After the award has been made the student has a limited time period in which to find a job, and once employed must work on a consistent basis. FWS earnings do not count against future financial aid eligibility.  Students are not required to apply for, or accept, FWS in order to receive other forms of student aid such as an assistantship, tuition waiver, scholarship, or grant.

Although FWS is the largest and most common work-study program, the student’s award may be made from a different program and thus have a different name. However, the term FWS and the related FWS policies apply to all work-study programs administered through the University Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid.

Student Eligibility

  • Eligible for federal financial aid

  • Demonstrate financial need

  • Enrolled

  • Eligible to legally work in the United States

  • Not a University of Utah benefits eligible employee (except for health insurance provided under the Affordable Care Act)


  • Complete application for need-based financial aid (FAFSA)

  • Indicate interest in Federal Work-Study on the FAFSA

  • FWS funds are limited. If the student is not initially awarded FWS, he/she may submit a FWS Request Form. This form is posted on the University Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid website during periods when additional funds may be available.

Award Amount

The award amount represents the maximum gross wage the student may earn in the FWS program, during the award period. The award amount includes both a federal/state contribution and a departmental contribution.

The award must be earned through hours worked. Wages considered to be ineligible for FWS funding are not counted against the award.

The amount of the FWS award cannot exceed a student’s financial need. Changes to financial need, or to any other awards in a student’s financial aid package, may reduce or eliminate the FWS award amount.

Award Period

Awards are given for an award period that falls within the award year of July 1st through June 30th. Students must re-apply each award year, awards are not automatically renewed. The award period is based on the semester(s) for which the student is enrolled. In general, the award periods are as follows:

  • Fall Semester: 07/01 - 12/15 (or last day of Finals week; whichever is earlier)

  • Spring Semester: 12/16 - 04/30 (or last day of Finals week; whichever is earlier)

  • Summer Semester: 05/01 - 06/30

Award Cancellation

Any unearned award amount is forfeited at the end of the award period or at the time the award is cancelled. Awards may be cancelled under the following conditions:

  • The student ceases to maintain FWS eligibility
  • A EAF is not issued within the Required Time Frames
  • The student does not verify EAF Activation
  • The EAF Expires

Required Time Frames

Students have a limited amount of time in which to find a job. A position must be secured and a EAF issued within the following time frames:

  • Fall semester:  September 30, 2024 (or 45 days after your FSW offer date; whichever comes sooner)

  • Spring semester:  February 14, 2025 (or 45 days after your FSW offer date; whichever comes sooner)

  • Summer semester:  May 15, 2025

Awards will be cancelled if the EAF is not issued according to the above time frames.

Finding a Job

Being awarded work-study does not guarantee employment.  Students are responsible for finding their own on-campus employment. Students must have a FWS award in order to apply for a job classified as a work-study position.

Job postings should clearly indicate that the position is for eligible students with work-study funding. Jobs must meet the criteria for a work-study eligible position in order for the student to utilize their work-study award in that job.

Most employing departments are flexible with the student’s school schedule.

For more information on finding a job go to: Find a Work-Study Job.

Applications and Interviewing

Applications are made through The University of Utah Division of Human Resources and forwarded directly to the hiring department. The interviewing and hiring process are between the student and the hiring department. The FWS Coordinator will not handle any aspect of the hiring process.

Employers may not require the student to provide proof of a work-study award. Employers must verify work-study eligibility through the EAF process.

Eligible/Ineligible Positions

Eligible (must meet all criteria)

  • .50 FTE or less (20 hours/week)

  • Temporary

  • Hourly

  • Administered through The University of Utah Division of Human Resources


  • A position that creates benefits eligibility at the University of Utah, including the Graduate Tuition Benefit Program.  Health insurance benefits required under the Affordable Care Act will not make the position ineligible.

  • A position that involves constructing, operating, or maintaining any part of a building used for religious worship or sectarian instruction

  • A position that displaces regular employees or impairs existing service contracts


Work-study students are temporary, at will employees and employment may be terminated at any time.

Standard practices should be followed in regard to the termination of FWS employees. If you have questions about termination, please contact The University of Utah Division of Human Resources.

Students may not begin working in the FWS program until a EAF has been issued to their potential employer.

The EAF is the only official confirmation of a student’s eligibility to work in the FWS program. The FWS program will not fund wages that are paid without a valid EAF.

The potential employing department will request the EAF from the FWS Coordinator. The EAF is not issued directly to the student. The student will receive a copy of the EAF when it is issued to the employer. Students should keep a copy of the EAF for their records.

EAF Criteria
The EAF is authorized and valid only for the specific criteria as stated on the EAF:

Student Name and ID
Award Amount
Authorized Award Period
Supervising Department
Payroll Department (ORG ID used  in the Chartfield Distribution)

EAF Activation
The EAF must be activated within the first 30 days of the authorized award period. The EAF is activated when the student’s wages properly charge the FWS accounts for work performed during the first 30 days of the authorized award period.

Students must contact the FWS Coordinator, after they have received their first paycheck, to verify that their EAF has been activated. This also confirms that the student’s employee status and accounting set-up are correct. Do not rely on the employer for this information. Failure to verify EAF activation may result in loss of the FWS award.

The EAF becomes inactive if the student stops earning FWS wages for a period of four consecutive pay periods after work has begun.

If the EAF is not activated, or becomes inactive, it is no longer valid and a new EAF must be requested. There are various factors that impact whether a new EAF will be issued or if the award will be cancelled.

 EAF Expiration
At the end of the authorized award period the EAF  is no longer valid. A EAF is not automatically renewed and must be re-issued each new award year.

The EAF may become invalid or expire under a variety of conditions. EAF expiration usually causes cancellation of the FWS award. Should this occur, the FWS Coordinator will send an email notice to the student, supervisor, and payroll reporter.

The most common reasons for EAF expiration are:

  • The student does not receive a FWS paycheck for work performed within the first 30 days of the authorized award period
  • The student does not contact the FWS Coordinator to verify EAF activation
  • A FWS paycheck is not recorded for a period of 4 consecutive pay periods
  • The student fails to maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • The student’s enrollment drops to below half-time
  • The student graduates or ceases to be enrolled
  • The student ceases to maintain eligibility or is required to submit additional information to document continued eligibility


The student will receive a regular paycheck twice per month for the hours worked.

Hourly Rate Requirements

  • At least the federal minimum wage

  • The fair market wage consistent with the geographic region, the type of work performed, the employee’s proficiency, the position responsibilities, and experience required

  • Determined by the employer and if needed, in consultation with The University of Utah Division of Human Resources

  • May not be established or changed based on FWS status

Submission and Payment for Hours Worked

  • Employers are prohibited from accepting voluntary services from any FWS employee

    The employing department must set-up a new FWS employee on a timely basis, to allow for the on time payment of the first paycheck

  • The student must submit all hours worked in time to allow for timely payroll processing

  • The student and supervisor must both approve and sign-off on the time sheet each pay period to certify that hours worked are accurately reported

  • Students must be paid every pay period for all hours worked during that pay period

  • Students must be paid on time, no later than 10 days after the pay period closes. For more information, please refer to Utah Code, Title 34, Chapter 28

  • Any hours NOT submitted and paid on time may be considered ineligible wages and may result in the loss of the FWS award

  • Students should negotiate their FWS paychecks in a timely manner and are encouraged to apply for direct deposit.  Paper paychecks that have become stale-dated (180 days old) may be re-classified as ineligible wages. 


FWS earnings are taxed in the same manner as any other temporary student position. Income taxes are withheld according to the W-4. FICA taxes apply during periods of non-enrollment.

Affordable Care Act

The employer share of premiums will be paid on behalf of students who are eligible for and elect health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

Unallowable Pay Types

FWS cannot fund any wages other than regular hourly pay. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Salary

  • Stipends

  • Commissions

  • Bonus

  • Overtime

  • Shift Differential

  • Holiday Leave

  • Vacation Leave

  • Sick Leave

  • Retroactive Pay

  • Other Pay

Disallowed Wages

Wages are not considered to be FWS wages if earned under the following conditions:

  • No valid EAF
  • In excess of the FWS award amount
  • Before or after the authorized award period
  • Student’s employee set-up and/or payroll accounting is incorrect
  • During a period the student is not eligible for FWS funding
  • After notification by the FWS Coordinator that the EAF  has expired 

Work Schedules

Students are not permitted to work in FWS positions during their scheduled class times. Exceptions are permitted if an individual class is cancelled.  Any such exception must be documented with the supervisor.  Students may be required to submit their course schedule to their supervisor in order to ensure that they are not working during class time.  If an employer requires a student to work during class time, the student should report this to the FWS Coordinator.

Encouraged Maximum Allowed Hours

  • 20 hours/week during periods the student is enrolled
  • 40 hours/week during official university breaks (classes or finals are not in session)
  • Weekly hour maximums are calculated based on the work week of Saturday through Friday. An extra 4 hours/day is allowed for each weekday falling within a period of non-enrollment or a university break.

Students who consistently work more than the maximum allowed hours may be penalized with the loss of the FWS placement. The FWS Coordinator will make the judgment on whether or not the student may continue working for the department.

If the student receives notice that hours worked were over the maximum allowed, and the student believes the notice was received in error, KRONOS time sheets may be submitted to the FWS Coordinator for review.

Maximum Earnings

When the student’s earnings are nearing the full award amount, the FWS Coordinator will make a reasonable effort to notify the student. However, it is the student’s responsibility to track their earnings to ensure the authorized award amount is not exceeded. Please contact the FWS Coordinator to verify the year-to-date FWS earnings that have been applied against your award.

FWS earnings are calculated using the gross wage that has been allowed under the program.

Duration of Position
It is recommended that students plan out the award duration with the employer. Determine the number of hours/week that may be worked based upon the award amount, the hourly rate, and the award period.

When the full amount of the FWS award has been earned, the employer has the option to hire the student as a regular hourly employee or to terminate the employment relationship.

Work place problems and employee relations or disciplinary issues should be addressed through the use of standard human resource principles. If issues arise that cannot be resolved with the employer, please contact The University of Utah Division of Human Resources.

  •  Obtain a Work-Study Award: Work-study is need-based financial aid. You must first apply for a work-study award by applying for financial aid. You must also meet and maintain eligibility requirements.
  • Understand Your Award: Once you have received an award make sure you understand how a work-study award is administered. Read the Student Work-Study Handbook.
  •  Find a Work-Study Job: It is the student’s responsibility to obtain his/her own employment. Jobs are offered through the University of Utah Division of Human Resources.
  • Obtain a EAF and Begin Working: Your potential employer must request an Employee Authorization Form  (EAF) from the FWS Coordinator. You will receive notification by email when the EAF has been issued. You must be issued a EAF by September 30 for Fall semester, or February 15 for Spring semester. You must begin working within the first 30 days of the EAF authorization period.
  • Verify your Work-Study Status: It is the student’s responsibility to verify his/her status as a work-study employee. After you receive your first paycheck, contact the FWS Coordinator to verify your status. Your award will be cancelled if the wages you receive are not properly documented as work-study wages.
  • Follow the Work-Study Employment Policies and Regulations: Your award may be cancelled for failure to follow the FWS employment policies. It is the student’s responsibility to retain his/her own award by understanding and following ALL policies. Common problem areas that may cause cancellation of the award are: not having a valid EAF, not beginning to work, not verifying your work-study status, not receiving a regular paycheck, and not maintaining SAT standards.
  • Monitor Your Financial Aid File and UMail Regularly: All notifications regarding your FWS employment will be sent to your UMail account. Your work- study status is subject to change at any time. It is important that you check your financial aid file regularly. An email should be sent to you each time there is a change to your file. Also, pay particular attention to email notifications that are specific to your work-study status. Be proactive. Contact the FWS Coordinator regarding any questions or concerns you may have.

Important Dates 

June 1

Employers may submit EAF Requests for FWS Employees


July 1

Students, with a valid EAF, may begin working on their FWS offer






Last Updated: 7/3/24