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Types of Student Employment

Student Employment

Federal Work-Study

Federal Work-Study (FWS) is a program offered to students who have demonstrated a high level of financial need as determined by the results of their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students must meet the awarding criteria and request FWS on their FAFSA in order to be offered FWS. 

How it Works

FWS eligibility can make it easier for students to secure part-time job opportunities on or around campus.  Students work to earn a regular bi-weekly pay check, which they can use to meet some of their day-to-day expenses.  The FWS award (usually $2,500 for the academic year) makes up a portion of the students total financial aid eligibility by reducing loan eligibility, thus helping reduce loan debt.  Students can earn up to the offered FWS amount.

Job openings are available in convenient campus locations, or with nonprofit organizations in the local area such as the following:

  • Purdue labs/departments
  • Purdue Residence Halls
  • Purdue/local public libraries
  • Local tutoring programs
  • Area social service agencies
  • City/County government offices

To qualify for employment through the Federal Work-Study Program you must:

  • File the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) with the federal processor by March 1.
  • Complete your Financial Aid file with required documentation.
  • Be awarded Federal Work-Study eligibility by the Division of Financial Aid on your Award Notification. Federal Work-Study is awarded based on demonstrated need from the FAFSA. This funding is available to students seeking their first Bachelor’s degree.
  • Be enrolled in a degree seeking program for at least six hours each semester during the academic year.

The Federal Work-Study program is designed so that the government and your qualified employer share in paying your wages. The money you earn comes directly to you in bi-weekly paychecks, and can be used for paying your living and educationally-related expenses. The FWS allotment is not paid in a lump sum or credited to the student’s bill.  You are not expected to save money from your FWS job toward next year’s education the way that you are when you work for a regular employer.  On the FAFSA you report the income that you made from your FWS job,  just like you would any other job, but there is a second question that asks, “How much of the money you earned was from a Federal Need Based Program?”   When you report the amount again here, it is deducted from your wages.

A student’s FWS earnings can be used to pay for fees, tuition, housing, books, supplies, or any other expenses he or she might incur.  However, FWS earnings are not automatically applied to tuition, fees, or any other associated university expenses like some other sources of financial aid.

There is a three-step process for a student to utilize a Work-Study award:

  • Find and secure a job with a Work-Study eligible employer.
  • Students must turn in their Payroll Authorization Form (PAF) to their employer’s payroll clerk.  The student, prior to the start of classes, will be able to visit our office in Schleman Hall, Room 302, to pick up the PAF. Duplicate forms for second jobs or changing of a job can also be obtained in our office.
  • Students must work their scheduled hours to earn their wages. The employer will pay the students' earnings in biweekly paychecks. Direct deposit to the student's bank account is also an option with many employers.

Note: Students will need authorized I-9 documentation to start working. See http://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/acceptable-documents for a list of acceptable documents.

Regular Part-time

Many types of jobs are available on or near campus. Off-campus jobs range from restaurant positions and retail sales to telemarketing and clerical jobs, among others. On-campus titles might include food service, lab assistants, and library positions. Campus and area employers realize that they are hiring college students, and try (whenever possible) to offer flexible schedules to help accommodate a student's needs.

Student working

Internships and Cooperative Education

Internships and cooperative education programs are excellent ways for students to gain work experience. Internships provide students with valid employment opportunities during school breaks. Co-Op programs allow students to alternate semesters of on-campus study with semesters of full-time employment. Students should see their academic advisors for more information on internships and Co-Op programs that are specific to their majors. Students and employers can also contact The Center for Career Opportunities for more information on internship programs or career placements at 765-494-3981. Interested parties might also want to contact the Office of Professional Practice at 765-494-7430 for more information on Co-Op programs.

Students working during a "co-op" semester are not typically enrolled in any credits, but they do have full time student status and loans are deferred. Students on work assignments are not typically eligible for financial aid during that term. While students are away from campus on their work assignment, they are registered for a course at Purdue, for which they are charged a fee each term. This fee covers part of the added cost to the University of administering this special program.

Earnings from need-based employment programs, such as Federal Work-Study, need-based employment portions of fellowships and assistantships, and earnings from work under a cooperative education program offered by a college should be reported on the FAFSA application. However, they are excluded from income when calculating the EFC (expected family contribution).