Federal Work Study Overview

In order to obtain an FWS position, students must possess an award from the Office of Financial Aid.

When students complete their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), they indicate if they are interested in receiving Federal Work Study. If interested students meet certain FWS eligibility requirements, they may be awarded FWS in their financial aid award package according to the availability of funds. This award can be viewed and accepted in a student's OASIS account. For questions about how to receive an FWS award, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

If awarded FWS, it is the student's responsibility to secure an FWS job in order to earn their award money. Most FWS positions are on-campus, however some are off-campus community service-oriented positions. An FWS student who successfully secures an FWS position will earn their award money in the form of a paycheck every other week, equivalent to the number of hours worked and the hourly rate.

USF Career Services can assist students with their self-directed job search. Information on how to apply for FWS positions appears below. For questions not answered here, please contact our team.

Getting Started

Before you begin applying for FWS positions:

  1. Accept your FWS award in OASIS.
  2. Read the FWS Frequently Asked Questions.

Search for Jobs

You can find FWS positions in one of three ways:

Login to Handshake via MyUSF > My Resources > Find A Job (Handshake). If this login method does not work for you, please complete our account request form. Do not attempt to create your own account as it will not be connected to USF and you will not be able to see FWS positions.

Once in Handshake, you can search for positions. All postings related to Federal Work Study should begin with "FWS." For assistance with searching for FWS positions on Handshake, contact our team.

Visit the Careers@USF website. Click on "Find Student Jobs" then choose "Browse Job Openings" in the menu on the left. Finally, select "Careers@USF."

If this is your first visit to the Careers page, navigate to the three dots in the upper right hand corner, and click "New User" from the drop-down to create your account. If you have accessed Careers@USF before, choose the "Sign In" option from the same drop-down. You'll need an active account to apply for jobs.

Once logged in, click “View All Jobs” and use the "Job Families" filter on the left side bar to choose "FWS Student" jobs. Use the "Location" filter to search jobs by campus. You can also browse job that are labelled as "Student Employment," however these jobs will not use your FWS funds.

If you're interested in working for a specific department, ask them if they have any available FWS or Student Employment positions open. If they do, follow their instructions to submit your application. It may be a good idea to bring a generic resume with you to these conversations.

When to Apply

Starting in Fall?
Plan to start your search no earlier than July 1, as that is when most departments will begin posting new positions for the Fall semester. Departments will continue to post positions as they become available, with many positions being advertised within the first few weeks of the Fall semester.

Starting in Spring?
Start your search as early as October, but note that many on-campus departments that are hiring for FWS positions are hoping to fill these quickly. Take care to mention in your cover letter that you will begin classes in the Spring semester.

Read Job Descriptions and Prepare Your Application

With roughly 50,000 students on campus, you have a lot of competition for any part-time job. Make yourself a stand-out candidate by getting help from Career Services early and having a strategic plan when applying to positions. Here are some things you can consider to help you stand out:

  • Create a tailored resume and cover letter for each job applied for. Check out the Job Search page for help with creating these important tools.
  • Address your cover letter to the hiring manager of the department for which you are applying. You should find the contact info for the department at the bottom of each job posting. If a specific contact isn't listed, try reaching out to the department to determine who the hiring manager is. If you have tried that and still can't find a specific person to address your cover letter to, you can use the default "Dear Hiring Manager" for your letter.
  • When applying to FWS jobs, you will need to provide a screenshot of your award to attach to the application. Login to > My Resources > OASIS > Financial Aid > My Award and Loan Information > Award Overview and your award will be shown as a line item in your financial aid package. Take a screenshot of the award and assure that it is clear and that your name and U# are included in the capture. The entirety of the award must be shown or it will not be able to be used when processing your hire paperwork.
  • The job description may also ask you to provide your semester class schedule as part of the application process. You can find your schedule on the MyUSF homepage or a more friendly calendar view MyUSF > My Resources > OASIS > Registration > Week at a Glance.
  • Careers@USF only lets you attach one document to each position you apply to. Make sure your general application is updated, then combine all of your additional documents (cover letter, resume, FWS screenshot, class schedule) into a single document, save it as one PDF, and upload it with your application. Handshake allows you to choose your attachments when applying for a new position. Click here for detailed instructions on how to attach documents to your Handshake account.

Need Help?

  • Be sure to submit both a cover letter and resume to each job you apply to.
  • Still have questions? Contact our team.

Preparing to Work

  • You should discuss their hours with your department and/or supervisor in order to determine how much of your award you can earn. Since departments are given limited funding to which they must adhere, departments are not required to ensure students earn their full award amount.
  • Students often do the best at balancing work and school if they limit their job hours to 15-20 a week.
  • If you get a position on-campus, you'll need to have the right documentation to fill out your I-9 form. Check out the documents that you could use at Make sure you have access to a voided check or bank document with an account number and routing number so that you can set up automatic deposit.