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Career and Professional Success

Federal Work Study

Profile picture of Lorraine Vavul, On-campus Student Employment Coordinator

Important Update

We're excited to announce the return of our colleague Lorraine Vavul, the University's new On-Campus Student Employment and Federal Work Study Coordinator, now based out of  Human Resources:

CaPS will continue to support Lorraine as she settles into her new position. Students with questions about Federal Work Study should reach out to Lorraine using the contact information above.


What Is Federal Work Study (FWS)?

The FWS program subsidizes the paychecks of college students who work qualifying part time jobs (on or off campus), allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. Learn more by reading "What Is Work-Study?"

Students (or parents/guardians) must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to be eligbile for federal work study. Students who have been awarded FWS as a part of their financial aid package must secure employment on campus or through our approved Community Service partnership organizations. FWS positions are available on campus in a number of university departments and off campus at approved non-profit and government agencies. 

Here are some resources for FWS student employees:

What Does The FWS Aid Amount Mean?

  • Although your aid award may list a certain amount allocated/awarded for work-study — say, $1,500 — that doesn’t mean you automatically get that money.
  • The dollars that are awarded to you must be acquired by working in an approved campus job—the only jobs on campus that do not fall under this category are those that are with outside companies such as Follett, Starbucks, etc. 
  • The amount of money you earn in your FWS job can’t exceed your total amount allocated. You have to find a work-study-eligible job and then work enough hours to earn up to that amount. The monetary award is simply a place holder in your financial aid record.

Does The Money I Earn Go Directly Towards My Tuition?

  • The student receives a paycheck with normal withholding - the money is not automatically applied toward their student account.  
  • FWS students can contact the Office of Student accounts and ask to have it applied directly to their student account.

How Do I Know If I Am A FWS Eligible Student?

  • FWS students will be informed individually by Financial Aid of your eligibility status, and the amount of funds offered. 
  • You can also double check through your portal: Login and go to self-service student homepage > student center > finances > financial aid > review/accept/decline financial aid. If you are FWS eligible, it will be listed.
  • If you are unsure of whether or not you are eligible for FWS funds, please contact Financial Aid at 317-940-8200 or

Are Jobs On Campus Or Off Campus?

  • Both. If you work on campus, you’ll usually work for your school, specifically within a office or center on campus. If you work off campus, your employer will usually be a approved nonprofit organization or a public agency. Butler has signed agreements with several private for-profit , non profit, and other community service related organizations for work-study jobs.

Where Do I Find a FWS Job?

  • Butler University uses the online job search platform called Handshake, to promote open on- and off-campus. Whether those are part-time or full-time. Work study positions will state "work study" in the title and include a disclaimer in the description to remind students these positions are only for federal work study eligible students. 
  • Utilize Handshake to search for on campus or off campus FWS positions. When searching, use the search box and type "work study" to narrow down you results. You can also search by the approved list of FWS employer organizations listed on this page. 

I Have Accepted A On Campus Job & I am FWS Eligible. What Now?

  • You are good to go! As a FWS student, you can work anywhere on campus!
  • However, if you are employed in any of the following on campus centers, then both the student and supervisor should contact CaPS Director Gary Beaulieu ( for next steps:
    • ​Butler Center for the Arts (Schrott & Clowes)
    • Butler CUES
    • Center for Faith & Vocation
    • Center for Citzenship & Community
    • Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
    • Indianapolis Childrens Choir
    • Indianapolis Symphonic Choir
  • What you (or your parents/guardians) will need to do next time is fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and report all of the income you made as a Butler student employee.

Which Off Campus Organizations Hire FWS Eligible Students?

  • Various organizations partner with Butler University by hiring only FWS eligible students to work for the academic year. Each year, there are about 15-18+ non-profit organizations (located both on and off campus) that will hire Butler students, on the terms that Butler is responsible for paying 100% of the students' wages, up to the students' allotted FWS monetary award. These jobs are found in the same section on Handshake where on-campus jobs are located. Some organizations include:
  1. Newfields (formerly IMA)
  2. Benjamin Harrison Presidential Site 
  3. Humane Society of Indianapolis 
  4. Harrison Center for the Arts 
  5. Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra 
  6. Indianapolis Children's Choir 
  7. The Milk Bank
  8. Indianapolis Symphonic Choir 
  9. International School of Indiana 
  10. Indiana Youth Institute 
  11. The Orchard School 
  12. St. Thomas Aquinas School 
  13. The Indianapolis YMCA 
  14. The Butler Center for the Arts (Schrott & Clowes)
  15. Butler CUE Farm
  16. Center for Citizenship & Community
  17. The Indiana Arts Commission
  18. Indianapolis Symphonic Choir
  19. Center for Faith & Vocation
  20. Women4Change
  21. Northminster Presbyterian 

Taxes and FAFSA Information

  • You have to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be eligible for federal work study. You will need to complete a FAFSA form for every year that you need student aid. Even if you have been awarded a work-study position for one school year, you must fill out the FAFSA again for each subsequent year. Be sure to answer the question regarding how much was earned through work-study on your FAFSA accurately. 
  • The foremost reason to choose work-study is that the amount of money you make doesn’t count against you when you file your FAFSA for the next year. Income from any federal work-study job is not counted in yearly income on the FAFSA. 
  • Earnings from a work-study position are subject to state and federal payroll taxes. If you are currently enrolled in college full time, and currently work less than half time, you are exempt from Social Security and Medicare withholding, but not income taxes. Butler should give students a W-2 that will list all the required information to fill out your 1040 form.
  • Questions? Email HR office ( or the Financial Aid office (
  • Click here for additional information:
  • Are My Work-Study Earnings Taxed?
  • How Work-Study Affects Your Taxes
  • Filling out FAFSA

Do I Have to Accept FWS Aid?

  • No. If work-study is on your financial aid award and you don’t intend to use it, you can decline the award. However, in most cases, getting a work-study job is a good idea, especially if it decreases your student loan borrowing and the amount of student debt you’ll face after graduation.

FWS Student Paychecks


COVID-related Changes

During the 2020/21 term, Student Accounts will not be distributing physical student payroll checks. They strongly encourage you to enroll in direct deposit. If direct deposit isn’t selected, paychecks will be mailed to the active campus or local address listed in my.butler.

Signing Up for Direct Deposit:

  • log into my.butler
  • on your dashboard, click the "Peoplesoft HR/Payroll" button atop the "Employee Tools" column
  • on the Self-Service page that appears, click the "Payroll and Compensation" button
  • in the left column, click the "Direct Deposit" tab
  • follow the instructions to "Add an Account"
  • if you encounter an error that says, "A balance account must be specified (30000,5?)," please visit I.T.'s direct deposit error page
  • be on the lookout for a confirmation in your Butler email

Additional Info:

  • You'll be paid at an hourly rate, which varies across campus. On average, students earn between $7.50–$12.00 per hour.
  • You must submit your work hours each week via your my.butler timesheet. Your supervisor is then responsible for approving your hours.
  • Paychecks are distributed every other week. View the 2020–2021 payroll schedule.
  • Learn more about Student Paychecks.
  • There’s no requirement that you use the money you earn for anything specific; many students use their work-study paychecks to cover day-to-day living costs.