Federal Work Study

Important Update

Students with questions about Federal Work Study should reach out to Lorraine Vavul using the contact information below.


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 eligible 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:

  • 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, Bon Appetit, 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 my.butler.edu 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 finaid@butler.edu
  • Both. Collectively individual Colleges, Departments and Butler organizations and programs (like the HRC, residence halls, writers lab) offer more than 1,000 student on campus jobs. 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.
  • 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. 
  • 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 Lorraine Vavul (lvavul@butler.edu) for next steps:
    • ​Butler Center for the Arts (Schrott & Clowes)
    • Butler Center for Urban Ecology
    • Center for Citizenship & Community
    • Diversity Center
  • 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.
  • 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. Benjamin Harrison Presidential Home
  2. Boys & Girls Club of Indianapolis—Keenan Stahl Unit
  3. Butler Center for Urban Ecology
  4. Butler Arts & Events Center
  5. Center for Citizenship and Community
  6. Diversity Center
  7. Dress for Success
  8. Harrison Center for the Arts
  9. Horizons at St Richard’s School
  10. Indiana Arts Commission
  11. Indiana Youth Institute
  12. Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
  13. Indianapolis Propylaeum
  14. Indianapolis Symphonic Choir
  15. Orchard School
  16. St Richard’s Episcopal School
  17. Women4Change
  • 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 Financial Aid office (finaid@butler.edu) or Payroll Office (payroll@butler.edu)
  • Click here for additional information:
  • Are My Work-Study Earnings Taxed?
  • How Work-Study Affects Your Taxes
  • Filling out FAFSA
  • 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.