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FEDERAL WORK STUDY (FWS) is a form of federal financial aid awarded to both undergraduate and graduate students who demonstrate financial need.  A student must be enrolled or accepted for enrollment as an undergraduate, graduate, or professional degree-seeking student. There is no minimum enrollment level for FWS; however, schools must make a reasonable portion of their FWS Program funds available to both full-time and part-time students - that is, those students who are enrolled full-time (12+ units), three-quarter time (9-11 units), and half time (6-8 units). FWS award amounts are based on available funds, the number of eligible students and their financial need. Under FWS, students have the opportunity to work part-time to help offset college educational expenses. Students must also have and maintain at least a 2.0 GPA. A FWS award does not “guarantee” employment.

In addition to federal regulations, FWS students are subject to conditions of student employment stated in the Ohlone College Procedures Manual. The Financial Aid Office (FAO) has the right to rescind all or part of a FWS award at any time should there be a change in the student’s award status. Federal regulations require FAO to revise awards to prevent a student from being over-awarded. FAO also has the right to rescind all or part of a FWS award if funds are depleted before the end of the academic year. Ohlone CC students who will be away on Study Abroad or Exchange programs will not be eligible for the FWS award during the semester in which they are participating in those programs.


Recipients must apply to a position with a resume via the Handshake Platform for on campus and approved off-campus FWS positions once you have created a profile. *Note* Some department managers may require a cover letter.

All students must reapply every semester on the Handshake Platform for continued employment in a federal work-study position. Students will also be responsible for following up with the Work-Study Coordinator in the Financial Aid office to complete and updated FWS contract prior to the start of the new semester.

Students may NOT begin work on FWS for any period of enrollment until they have been awarded FWS by the FAO and have filed required employment documents with the FAO, located in the Student Services Building 7. In-person counseling must be completed prior to the first disbursement of FWS funds. Please contact Shantell Lea by phone at (510) 659-6011, or by email at sends e-mail) to schedule an appointment.

Students are also required to complete a few steps and documents prior to their start date. These include:

  1. FERPA training, a link will be sent to the student via email asking for the completion of training, once completed student is required to email the certificate of completion to the FAO.
  2. Sexual Harassment training. 
  3. Inclusion and Diversity training. 
  4. FWS agreement sent to student to review, sign and date then email completed document to the FAO.  

ALL REQUIRED documents must  be emailed to Shantell Lea in the FAO at

Students must also complete the necessary paperwork with Human Resources department, located in Room 19-118, Building 19, Fremont campus, prior to the first day of employment.


Work Schedules will be determined by the Federal Work-study supervisor based on the needs of the department and the Students class availability. Student and Supervisor are reminded that financial aid records are randomly audited every year and the auditors do check to ensure that students do not work during scheduled class time. Violation of this provision could result in charges to the department for wages earned and/or may be prohibited from further participation in the FWS program. If extenuating circumstances exist (i.e. class is canceled) and the student does work during class time and that period should be indicated in the comments section of the time sheet and an explanation must be noted.

FWS position may be terminated at anytime due to the following circumstances:

Poor Academic Performance

Not adhering to the policies and standards of the department

Poor Work Performance

No longer able to meet the scheduling needs of the department

Student is no longer meeting Federal Work-Study Eligibility


Students are notified by the FAO of any changes to their FWS award via e-mail. In turn, the FWS student is then responsible for notifying the employer of any change immediately. When monitoring FWS earnings, calculations must be based on 100% of gross earnings and NOT 75% of gross earnings.

FWS is awarded in allotments for each enrollment period to reflect a student’s financial need for the respective term. The formula below shows how to obtain AVERAGE WEEKLY WORK HOURS from an allotment. (This average may not exceed limits set by the College for student employees: up to 20 hrs. /week while classes are in session; up to 29.5 hrs. /week during semester breaks and Spring recess if funding permits).

Semester Allotment ÷ Hourly Wage Total Work Hours/Semester

Total Work Hours/Semester ÷ Number of Weeks per Semester Avg. Weekly Work Hours

Unearned FWS for each semester will automatically be canceled by the FAO. Any unearned Fall FWS will not be carried over into the spring semester.


Employers may continue to pay students who have exhausted their total FWS allotment provided general funds are used. However, if a student continues to earn beyond their total FWS allotment, employers will be required to reimburse the FWS account for any amount over-earned.


Services designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, particularly low-income individuals, or to solve particular problems related to their needs. Included in the definition of community service are childcare services and support services offered by the school to its students with disabilities.

Federal regulations state a school must expend at least 7% of its FWS allocation to compensate students employed in community service positions. This includes at least one FWS student as a reading tutor for preschool-age or elementary school children; or in a family literacy project performing family literacy activities. 10% of the FWS allocation is also expended to Job Location and Development (JLD). Ohlone College reaches out, communicating with the local community creating partnerships to develop regular and community service positions for the school’s students.

*The remaining 83% of the FWS allocation remains for general FWS.


  • FWS students are prohibited from providing voluntary services to their employers.
  • FWS students cannot be paid for work that students must normally complete without pay because it is part of their academic program.
  • FWS funds may not be used to subsidize an employee’s share of fringe benefits such as paid sick leave, vacation and holiday pay, contributions to welfare, or insurance programs such as Social Security, Worker’s compensation or retirement.
  • FWS students are required to record hours worked both electronically and on a Working Hours Tracker (PDF). ELECTRONIC TIME SHEETS: Federal regulations require that the time sheets be approved by the Work-Study Coordinator, and accurately reflect the exact time period that the student worked. Students are responsible for recording the hours worked on the monthly Web-time entry account through Web Advisor. FWS hiring supervisors are responsible for the review the electronic timesheets submitted through Web-Time Entry
    Department supervisors DO NOT approve the FWS students Web Time Entry electronic document, the student will then e-sign the timecard by the last working day of the month or the last date of each month. Pay days are the 10th of the month.
  • WORKING HOURS TRACKER (PDF): Encouraged to be completed by both the student and supervisor on a weekly basis to ensure that student worker stays within allotted hours for their Federal Work-Study allocation amount.
  • FWS funds are made available to assist students to cover their educational expenses. Therefore, employers may not require students to work during class time or exam periods.