Federal Work-Study Program
The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program is a need-based financial aid program which provides funding for qualified part-time student employment to help meet educational expenses. The program is funded by the federal government.
If you meet the eligibility requirements and wish to participate in the program, you are responsible for finding an unpaid/volunteer position with a qualifying agency (listed below) and completing the FWS Program procedures. If you are approved to receive an FWS award, it will be added to your financial aid package. FWS awards are compensated at a rate of $16.17 per hour. The FWS award represents the maximum amount that may be earned for the position.
You can submit a Federal Work Study (FWS) Form at any time before or during an FWS term. You cannot receive an FWS award and externship credit for the same position. You will not be compensated for any hours worked prior to being hired by UIC Law with an official start date, completing all HR paperwork, and submitting a signed I-9.
Frequently Asked Questions Heading link
What are the eligibility requirements?
You are required to complete 30 credit hours and achieve a minimum 2.25 GPA. Under extraordinary circumstances, an exception can be made during a fall or spring semester if you have completed 15 credits and achieved a 3.0 GPA. During the summer term there is no earned-credit threshold, but you must have attended the Law School for at least a semester and maintained a 2.25 GPA.
- Be a U.S. resident or foreign national
- Complete a current year Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- Fall/Spring Term: Currently be enrolled at least half time (6 credits for JD students; 3 credits for LLM/MJ students)
- Summer Term: Currently be enrolled in at least one credit
If you are requesting an award for a summer term, you must also complete a FAFSA for the next year and intend to register at least half time for the next fall semester.
If I am eligible to receive an FWS award, do I automatically have a job?
No. FWS eligibility means that you may seek employment, submit an FWS Request Form, and if selected, have an FWS award added to your financial aid package. You must interview for an unpaid/volunteer-qualifying position and be hired before an FWS award can be added to your financial aid package and before you can receive earnings. The ultimate decision to hire you is made by the off-campus agency and not by the Office of Financial Aid or the Career Services Office. The Law School does not place students in qualified positions.
How is the FWS Award calculated?
The gross earnings for your award are a product of the number of hours you expect to work per week and the number of weeks you will work at the agency at a rate of $16.17 per hour. The FWS award is added to your financial aid package net of Social Security and Medicare (92.35% of gross earnings). Your actual earnings/FWS award will be based on actual hours worked and reported.
How can I find an FWS job?
Apply for and be hired by a qualified agency listed below. The agency must be approved by the Law School and sign an Affiliation Agreement detailing its obligations under the FWS Program. Contact Allison Heverin, Associate Director of Career Services, to determine whether an agency qualifies.
Announcements for some off-campus positions will be posted on Symplicity. Contact your Career Services Counselor for help with identifying potential opportunities. The Law School does not place students in FWS positions.
How do I get paid for FWS?
FWS employees are paid by the Law School twice each month—on the 15th and last day of the month—for hours actually worked, reported, and approved. You will not be compensated for any hours worked prior to being hired by the Law School with an official start date, completing all HR paperwork, and submitting a signed I-9. You must submit your web time online in Paylocity by the designated deadlines established by HRl. If you work at an outside agency, you must also submit a signed paper timesheet. Failure to comply with Payroll procedures will delay your paycheck for an entire pay period. Failure to submit a timesheet by the due date on multiple occasions may be, at the discretion of the Law School, grounds for termination from an FWS position. You will be notified by the Payroll Manager where you can pick up a check.
What is the hourly rate?
The hourly rate is $16.17.
How many hours can I work?
- Fall and Spring Semesters: up to 20 hours per week.
- Summer Term: up to 29 hours per week.
Are FWS earnings taxable?
Yes, your gross earnings are subject to local, state, and federal taxes. You will be issued a W-2 at the end of the calendar year. Taxes will be withheld from your pay unless you meet IRS student tax-exempt status.
Are there any restrictions for reporting hours?
Yes. If you work more than 6 consecutive hours, then you are required to take a 30-minute, unpaid lunch, which must be documented on your online timesheet (if you work at an external agency, then you must also record this on your paper timesheet). Also, you do not receive compensation for lunch or break times, sick days, vacation days, or holidays.
You can only report up to 20 hours per week during a fall or spring semester and up to 29 hours per week during a summer term. You will not be compensated for any hours worked beyond these limits.
Are there restrictions on how I can spend my paycheck?
As with any financial aid, you are expected to use your FWS earnings to meet the cost of education in the semester for which you receive the award. The funds cannot be automatically credited to your student account.
Do I have to pay back my FWS earnings?
No. You may keep your FWS earnings and use them at your discretion for educational expenses.
Can I apply for an FWS award in more than one semester?
Yes. You may apply for an FWS award for each semester or summer term in which you are eligible. Selection is not guaranteed.
Can I be simultaneously employed at more than one FWS position during a semester or summer term?
Can I receive an FWS award during the summer?
Yes, however, in order to qualify for federal work study funds over the summer term, you must be registered for at least one credit during the summer. For the summer term, the FWS award is added to the summer term, the following fall semester, or a combination of both depending upon your registration status for the summer term and the duration of the assignment.
You are required to be registered for at least one credit during the summer and at least half time for the next fall semester in order to receive an FWS award during the summer term.
Can I receive class credit through the externship program and an FWS award for the same position?
Can I receive an FWS award in conjunction with a position outside of the Chicagoland area?
Yes. Contact Allison Heverin, Associate Director of Career Services, to determine whether your position and agency qualify.
Who can I contact if I have questions?
Qualified Agencies Heading link
Below is a current list of qualified, not-for-profit and government agencies. Each agency must be approved by UIC Law and sign an Affiliation Agreement detailing its obligations under the FWS Program.
- Access Living
- American Association of Insurance Services (Lisle, IL)
- Beyond Legal Aid
- Chicago Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights
- Chicago Legal Clinic
- City of Chicago Board of Education
- Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office
- Department of Justice for Immigration Review (Falls Church, VA)
- Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA)
- Her Justice Inc. (New York, NY)
- Illinois Department of Revenue
- Illinois Department of Veterans’ Affairs
- Illinois Prison Project
- Indiana Department of Child Services
- Kane County State’s Attorney’s Office
- Kankakee State’s Attorney’s Office
- KARAMAH: Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights (Rockville, MD)
- Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office
- Lawyers for the Creative Arts
- Life Span
- Northwestern Memorial Healthcare
- Planned Parenthood of Illinois
- Prairie State Legal Services, Inc. (Rockford, IL)
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection
- U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Illinois
- U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Indiana
- U.S. Magistrate Judge, Northern District of Texas, Dallas Division
- Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office (Detroit, MI)
- West Central Municipal Conference (River Grove, IL)
- West Side Institute for Science and Education