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Federal Work Study & Student Employment

Many students are confused by the term “work study.”  Work study is not a loan, it is not a grant, and it is not given to the student all at once. In fact, the Federal Work Study program refers specifically to an employer's ability to subsidize a student's wage. You could earn up to $3000 per year by working while at Grand Valley, and reduce your reliance on loans. Most students find it possible to work 10-15 hours a week and still maintain their academic and social life. Working helps you organize your time, teaches you discipline, and provides you with references and mentors to help you reach your future career goals.


Frequently Asked Questions

Benefits for Student and Employer. The Federal Work Study program is a federally funded program created to promote greater access to employment. Students qualify for Federal Work Study by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and demonstrating financial need.  At Grand Valley, the Federal Government pays 70% of the student's wages, making it easier for a student to find the right job.  The on-campus employer covers the remaining 30% of the student's wages and all fringe costs associated with the position.

Eligibility for Federal Work Study does not mean that a student will automatically receive the dollar amount listed on his or her financial aid award letter. A student must find a job and will receive their Federal Work Study award in bi-weekly paychecks based on hourly wage and hours worked per week. Students are eligible to earn up to the amount listed in their financial aid award letters during the academic year.  Students' earnings are NOT applied to their bill as a credit.

The Job Search. A Federal Work Study job is not assigned directly to you. You will have to go through the hiring process: search LakerJobs, apply, interview, and then be selected for a position. Although you are not automatically placed in a position, Federal Work Study gives you an advantage over students who do not have a Federal Work Study award. This is because on-campus departments have help from the federal government to pay for your hourly wages.

**Remember that you can apply to any job on-campus, whether it is categorized as GVSU Federal Work Study or GVSU Non-Work Study in LakerJobs.

Pay goes to the student. Once you have obtained a job and begin working, you will receive a paycheck every other week and are responsible for using the money for educational expenses. Your earnings are NOT applied to your student bill as a credit. You can use your earnings towards expenses such as: books, housing, food, going home during breaks, laundry, etc.

You can select to have your paycheck be direct deposited into a financial institution account of your choice. If you do not setup direct deposit, a paper check will be available for pick up at the Student Transaction Windows located in the Student Service Building in Allendale or Richard M. DeVos Building C in Grand Rapids. Checks are never mailed out.

To see the exact pay dates look at the Payroll Calendar.

Start looking on LakerJobs. Log into LakerJobs and search the various opportunities available! Remember that as a Federal Work Study student you can apply for ANY on campus job whether it is listed as Federal Work Study or regular.  Jobs will continue to be posted throughout the summer and academic year, so keep checking back often!

You still can!  You will need to filter for only the GVSU Non-Work Study positions once you log into LakerJobs.  There are still plenty of opportunities for on-campus employment for non-work study students as well.  Log into LakerJobs and start your search today!

Talk to your supervisor about their policy. Federal Work Study students can continue working after exhausting their Federal Work Study award amount for the aid period if their on-campus employee permits them to do so. The on-campus employer will be responsible for paying 100% of the student's earnings. These additional earnings will not jeopardize the student's current financial aid package. However, the student and supervisor should discuss the employing department's policy prior to the student beginning work. Some on-campus employers cannot continue a position once the student's Federal Work Study award has been exhausted.

If a student is working hours which will obviously earn more than their award allows, they should review their schedule with their supervisor.