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Federal Work-Study (FWS) provides students with part-time employment to help meet college costs and, if possible, provide work experience related to their field of study. FWS is federally funded and need-based. Eligibility is determined from information provided on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). A variety of FWS positions are available. Virtually every college and department use FWS in some capacity. Positions are available in libraries, laboratories (from anthropology to zoology), student services and academic departments, the Singletary Center, Gatton Student Center and the Johnson Center. Off-campus jobs with non-profit agencies provide opportunities to work directly with the community.  

FWS Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible, you must:  

  • Be a U.S. citizen, national, or permanent resident.  
  • Show need based on the analysis of the information you submitted on your completed FAFSA.  
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress (click here for SAP standards).  
  • Be enrolled at least half-time as an undergraduate or graduate student.  
  • Not have defaulted on or owe a refund to any aid program. 

How to Apply for FWS

Complete the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and indicate your interest in Federal Work Study (FWS). If eligible, your FWS award will be included in your financial aid package. If you have already accepted Federal Work Study as part of your financial aid package, you can search for jobs here.  


Earnings through FWS vary with the amount of your FWS award, the pay rate, and the hours you can work. Salaries start at $12.00/hour and range upward according to the position classification, and/or whether the job is on campus or off campus. Most students work ten to twenty hours a week. Employers usually prefer students to work three or more consecutive hours depending on their class schedules. You will receive FWS pay via direct deposit every two weeks according to the number of hours worked and submitted to the FWS Office. FWS earnings do not directly credit a student's billing statement for university charges. 

Community Service Jobs

In addition to on-campus employment, the FWS program also provides community service job opportunities such as "America Reads." "America Reads" is a tutoring program to help elementary school students improve their reading skills. FWS students interested in "America Reads" should contact the College of Education Program Coordinator, 859-257-1961, 107A Taylor Education Building.   

Federal Work-Study FAQ

Student Frequently Asked Questions

What is Federal Work-Study?

The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. Wages earned are paid to the student via the University Payroll System and are direct deposited to the checking account specified by the student. Earnings are not credited to the student’s university account and therefore do not pay the student’s billed charges. The program provides a wide variety of positions and possibly a position related to a student's field of study.  

Are Federal Work-Study jobs on campus or off campus?

Both. If you work on campus, you will work for your school. It's a great way to become connected with the university. If you work off campus, your employer will be a non-profit organization. The Federal Work-Study Office maintains an up-to-date listing of all jobs available. 

How much can I make?

Your total Federal Work-Study offer depends on your FAFSA and the total FWS allotment available to offer all eligible students. Your pay rate will be based on the Pay Rate determined by the FWS supervisor as indicated on the FWS Hiring Form. 

How will I be paid?

You will be paid bi-weekly for hours worked during each pay period. You can view your pay statement online through the myUK portal on the Employee Self-Service (ESS) tab. A new employee may receive a paper check for the first payroll period. Please ask your supervisor about your pay if funds are not direct deposited.  

I'm not eligible for work-study. Can I apply for a work-study job?

No. Only students who have Federal Work-Study (FWS) in their financial aid may work and earn FWS wages. 

Students can search for student specific jobs by using the "filter" feature at The UK STEPS office may also assist with student employment opportunities.  Also, the UK Stuckert Career Center has information for non-work-study job opportunities on their website.  

Some departments hire students regardless of work-study eligibility. You may need to contact a department of interest to ask whether they provide employment outside of the work-study program.  

I see work-study in my financial aid award. Am I required to get a work-study job?

No. Work-study provides students the opportunity of part-time work and to earn money, often to cover things like toiletries, entertainment, and other personal expenses. You are not required or obligated to get a work-study job and can always choose to cover your personal expenses in some other way. 

I have work-study listed on my financial aid offer. Am I guaranteed a job?

Work-study is not a job placement program. Our office posts available job openings  ( when campus and community employers notify us of them, but we are not able to control what jobs are available or where. 

Why isn't my work-study listed on my billing statement?

Work-study is not a financial aid program that is directly applied to tuition charges. Students earn an hourly wage and receive a bi-weekly paycheck for hours worked. 

I do not wish to get a work-study job or haven't found one. Do I have other options?

If you don't plan to earn your work-study funds, you should decline that offer in your myUK portal.  

The UK STEPS office may assist with student employment opportunities.  Also, the UK Stuckert Career Center has information for non-work-study job opportunities on their website.  

I declined my work-study, but now I want to get a work-study job. Am I still eligible?

Email us at and we can review your eligibility and reinstate that offer, if available to you.  

How is a work-study position different from other student positions?

Like other student positions, you will receive a bi-weekly paycheck via direct deposit; however, the funding source is different for work-study employees, with the federal government providing up to 75% of your wages and your employer providing the remaining 25%. This will be set up by your supervisor when they officially hire you for the FWS position. Contact the Financial Aid Office if you have any questions. 

I was eligible for work-study in the past, but I don't see it this year. Am I eligible?

Work-study is a need-based federal financial aid program, and your eligibility is determined annually based on your FAFSA. Changes to your financial circumstances, enrollment, living arrangements, and other factors can impact your work-study eligibility. If you have questions, contact the Financial Aid Office to speak with a counselor. 

Contact Information

If you have any questions or concerns about FWS, please feel free to contact the FWS Office at