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Federal Work-Study FAQs

What is Federal Work-Study?

Federal Work Study (FWS) is a program which provides part-time employment opportunities to eligible students to help meet the costs of post secondary education. Based on the results of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), eligible students are awarded an allotment which may be earned through part time employment in FWS approved positions either on or off campus. The program is designed to provide students with an opportunity for employment arranged around class schedules. Students must be enrolled at least half-time (6 credit hours per semester) and maintain a 2.0 GPA or better to be eligible for this program. If you wish to be considered for this program, you should complete a Work-Study Student Employment Application.

How do I apply for FWS?

Federal Work Study eligibility is based on demonstrated financial need. To be considered for a Federal Work Study award at Blue Ridge Community College, you should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Since work study funds are limited, you should file the FAFSA as early as possible. If you are not awarded Federal Work Study as part of your initial award package, you should make your desire for FWS known to the Financial Aid Office. Blue Ridge Community College does not award FWS funds automatically. If you are interested in the Federal Work Study program, you should contact the Financial Aid Office.

If I receive a work-study award, am I guaranteed employment?

No, it is your responsibility to find and apply for available Work-Study positions. Please contact the Work Study Coordinator or the Financial Aid Office if you need any assistance.

How many hours can I work?

Most work-study awards will enable the student to work on an average of 15 hours per week. However, once you have been awarded FWS, the Financial Aid Office will notify you of the average number of hours you are able to work.

What is the pay rate for Work-Study positions?

On-campus positions pay $12 per hour. Community Service positions that are positioned off-campus pay $14 per hour.

What happens if I earn my entire Work-Study award before the end of an academic period?

You cannot exceed your award amount. Once you have reached your maximum award, you must stop working as a Work-Study student.

Will my FWS award count as a credit against the charges on my bill?

No. Because the work study award represents money to be earned, it is not considered a credit against pending charges and will not show as a credit on your bill.

Should I notify the Office of Student Financial Aid if I decide to decline my FWS award?

Yes! If you have been awarded work-study and you decide not to participate in the program please notify the Work Study Coordinator or the Financial Aid Office in writing so that the funding can be given to someone who wishes to participate.

Are Federal Work Study wages considered taxable income?

Yes. Federal Work Study wages are taxable income. If taxes were withheld from your paycheck, you probably are eligible for a refund depending of course on your total annual earnings. It is in your best interest that you file a federal tax return with the IRS by April 15th. You will receive W-2 forms from BRCC for your work study earnings.

How are Federal Work Study wages considered when I apply for financial aid the following year?

Federal Work Study wages are excluded from consideration in the determination of your expected family contribution. The exclusion is effected by including the gross amount of your FWS wages on Step 2, question 40-C of the FAFSA. Your FWS wages are reported as part of your AGI and income from work on the FAFSA.

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Phone: (540) 453-2301


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