The Federal Work Study Program (FWS) is an employment program available to all eligible students. FWS requires students to earn their award amount through work. It is a need based, self-help financial aid program. Funds are limited and awarded on a first come, first serve basis each academic year. Funds are allocated to the school by the Department of Education. The FWS program is a way for students to gain work experience while earning money to help pay educational expenses. Since FWS is a federal program, income from FWS will not affect a student's financial aid eligibility for the next academic year. In other words, earnings are not considered when calculating financial need for the following academic year.
It is not guaranteed that a student will earn the full amount of their award. Employment placement is available through the Career Services Office for on-campus and community based organizations.
To be considered for FWS, a student must:
- Meet Financial Aid Eligibility
In order to receive federal financial aid, you must be enrolled at least half-time, be a degree-seeking student and demonstrate reasonable academic progress toward graduation or completion. Also, you must not be in default on federal student loans and be a United States citizen or permanent resident. Please contact the Registrar's Office to find out how many credits are required for half-time status for your program of study.
- Complete the FAFSA & Answer "YES" To Question 31
In order to receive federal financial aid for the academic year, you must submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to the U.S. Department of Education, and answer “yes” to question 31 on the FAFSA. FWS can only be awarded to students that answer “yes” to questions 31 on the FAFSA: “Are you interested in being considered for work-study?” Students that answer “no” will not receive a FWS award as a part of their financial aid award. Students that answered “no” but are already working in a FWS position or students that answered “no” but want to participate in FWS during any part of the academic year must contact the Office of Financial Aid as soon as possible. If a student answered “no” but does not contact our office and is working in a FWS position, they may not be eligible for compensation under FWS.
We recommend that you submit the FAFSA online no later than April 1 in order to receive full consideration for need-based financial aid (FWS only). Some financial aid is awarded on a first come, first served basis. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) at www.fafsa.ed.gov anytime after October 1 and enter Chicago-Kent's FAFSA code: E00773. Once the Department of Education sends your SAR (Student Aid Report) information to the Conviser Law Center, the Office of Financial Aid reviews your FAFSA information, determines your eligibility, and creates a financial aid award for you.
- Demonstrate Need on the FAFSA
Funds are awarded (offered) based on the student's Expected Family Contribution (EFC) and cost of attendance budget. Therefore, students must demonstrate financial need and have room within their cost of attendance budget to be eligible.
- Accept the FWS award on the myIIT portal.
When your financial aid award is finalized and ready to be viewed and accepted, our office will notify you via email and will direct you to the myIIT portal.
Please note the following:
- You cannot make changes to your financial aid award through the myIIT portal after your award(s) have been accepted. You must contact our office via email if you wish to make changes to your award(s).
- FWS reduces federal need and affects the cost of attendance for the current academic year. For this reason, a student must demonstrate financial need and have room within their cost of attendance budget in order to be eligible. Once the FWS award is accepted, it affects a student's eligibility to request additional loan funds later in the academic year. If a student has already been awarded the maximum in financial aid up to the cost of attendance, they are not eligible for FWS. See the example below for an illustration of how this works.
- FWS reduces the amount a student can borrow in federal student loans. If you do not plan on participating in the program and need additional funds you may email your request with the exact amount to be converted from your FWS award into additional loan funds. The Office of Financial Aid cautions students against borrowing up to the Cost of Attendance limit. Please specify the following in your email authorization request:
- Exact amount of Federal Work Study to be converted into loan(s). See the “Finances” section of the myIIT portal for your FWS offered amount.
- Exact dollar amount that you need in total for the entire academic year (not semester*)
- FWS is not a loan and all recipients' wages are paid and taxed as a regular job, and a W-2 is issued.
- The U.S. Department of Education allocates the funds to the school. FWS students receive their paychecks every two weeks based on the number of hours worked and their hourly rate of pay. The student's employment ends after he/she earns the full FWS award unless the Illinois Tech department offers to pay the student's wages from the department's budget account.
- Students are eligible to work in FWS jobs at the law school and any other IIT school/department that has been allocated FWS funding. FWS employment opportunities at the law school will be published in the Record; FWS employment on IIT's main campus will be published on the Career Management Center's (CMC) website. There are also Community Based Federal Work-study opportunities for Chicago-Kent students. This type of program allows students to obtain law related employment at local community based organizations and government agencies. For information about community based federal work study opportunities please refer to Chicago-Kent’s Public Interest Center, which oversees the program.