What is the purpose of Federal Work-Study (FWS)?

The purpose of the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program is to help fund part-time employment for students with financial need so they may earn money to help pay education expenses.

What are the benefits?

  • Allows you to earn money to help pay for your educational expenses.
  • Your FWS employer acknowledges you are a student first. FWS employers are flexible and willing to work around your class schedule.
  • It can provide opportunities to develop your professional skills, like communication, time management and interpersonal skills.
  • It can lead to career opportunities.
  • Income earned under the FWS program does not negatively impact your future financial aid eligibility whereas other employment earnings can impact your eligibility for subsequent academic years.

What are the eligibility requirements?

To qualify for FWS, students must:

  • Be an admitted, degree-seeking undergraduate or graduate student
  • Be enrolled at least halftime (fall/spring = 6 credit hours undergrad, 3 credit hours graduate)
  • Be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, U.S. permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
  • Submit any requested verification documents located in the To Do List on ERNIE
  • Be meeting Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP)
  • Demonstrate financial need
  • Have a valid form of identification (Passport or Permanent Resident card, or a Driver’s License or State ID card with a birth certificate or Social Security Card)
  • Have a current ERAU student job

To determine FWS eligibility, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and submit any requested documentation to complete verification.  Then, students must have a current ERAU student job and demonstrate financial need.*

*To determine financial need, the estimated cost of attendance (COA) minus the expected family contribution (EFC) from the FAFSA determines the financial need (COA – EFC = Need). 

The EFC will be replaced by the Student Aid Index (SAI) on the 2024-2025 FAFSA so the formula will change to the COA – SAI = Need

Gift assistance (free money such as grants, scholarships, waivers, etc.) fulfills financial need.  If a student’s gift assistance fulfills all of their financial need, they will not be eligible for FWS.  

International students and DACA students are not eligible for FWS. Effective for the 2024-2025 year, citizens of the Freely Associated States (Federal states of Micronesia, Republic of the Marshall Islands, and the Republic of Palau) are FWS eligible!

Students may not work during the hours they are scheduled to be in class.

How is FWS awarded?

Funding for the FWS program at Embry‑Riddle is limited, so we cannot guarantee that every eligible student will be awarded. Therefore, we cannot emphasize enough the importance of completing the FAFSA as early as possible. Federal Work-Study eligibility is determined annually, so it is important to submit the FASFA each year.

Students paid by FWS funds will have a FWS award added to their College Financing Plan (aka Financial Aid Offer).  When a student has earned their FWS award, they may be evaluated for a FWS increase or future earnings will be paid by the hiring department.

How is FWS disbursed?

FWS is unlike other financial aid awards.  Students awarded FWS and working will receive a paycheck every two weeks for hours worked during the pay-period.

  • FWS will not be applied to the student’s account to pay ERAU charges.  
  • FWS does not disburse in one lump sum.
  • Paychecks are mailed or direct deposited (if enrolled) into the student employee’s personal banking account.

Additional information

W-2 Forms are mailed or available electronically on Workday in late January for the prior tax year.

FWS earnings is considered taxable income by the IRS.  If a student earns enough income to be required to file a tax return (see IRS Publication 17), FWS must be included as taxable income for federal and state purposes. Consult a tax preparer for individual guidance on preparing taxes.

Where to find additional help

Student Employment Office at 928-777-3700 or prhumanr@erau.edu

  • Workday questions
  • New hire paperwork (I-9)

Career Services at 928-777-6600 or prcareer@erau.edu

  • Interviewing skills
  • Resume critique

Financial Aid Office at 928-777-3765 or prfinaid@erau.edu

  • FAFSA help
  • FWS eligibility