The Federal Work-Study Program
What is Federal Work-Study?
The Federal Work-Study Program (commonly called work-study) is one type of financial aid available to students at Bucks County Community College. Other types of aid include scholarships, grants, and student loans. Federal Work-Study is best described as the opportunity to work and earn money to help you afford to attend Bucks County Community College. If you are working during the summer months, you will be expected to save a portion of your earnings to apply to your educational expenses during the academic year when you will be attending classes. If you are working during the academic year, you will be expected to use your pay checks to help with your educational, transportation and living expenses during the time you are attending classes.
How do I qualify for Federal Work-Study Program?
On your FAFSA application, please indicate that you are interested in being considered for Work-Study. Your willingness to consider employment, and your eligibility for the Federal Work-Study Program according to the federal guidelines, results in a Federal Work-Study Program award. The amount of your work-study award will be based upon a combination of factors, including your financial need and the total amount of funding available to the College.
NOTE: DO NOT start working until authorized by the Financial Aid Office.
My Financial Aid Award offer says "Federal Work-Study." What happens now?
If you have never participated in the Federal Work-Study Program, you must set up an appointment to see a work-study counselor in the Financial Aid Office. The work-study coordinator will explain the program to you in more detail, and help you find a job. You are free to consider any available positions but will be strongly encouraged to pick one that will provide work experience related to your academic program. Please be sure to write down the contact person's name, telephone number and the name of the department or agency.
After your appointment with a work-study counselor, you will be responsible for contacting the person hiring students for these jobs. In most cases, the contact person will want to see you in person and ask you to come in for an interview. If you go directly to the office, you may be interviewed immediately. Be prepared! Your prospective supervisor will ask you about your class schedule and the hours you can work. You may want to bring a copy of your class schedule with you.
When should I make an appointment?
Work study appointments can be scheduled beginning one week prior to the start of classes and then throughout the semester.
What if I have been employed in the work-study program before?
If you are eligible for federal work study for the current academic year,You may contact the Financial Aid Office to complete your paperwork.
Is work-study like a "job?"
Work-study is just like having a regular part-time job. The office that hires you expects you to perform your duties in a satisfactory manner. Once you have agreed to work certain hours (for example, Tuesday and Thursday mornings) you are expected to adhere to that schedule. If you cannot come in to work, you must call your supervisor before the time that you would be expected. Remember – your supervisor is counting on you. Constant tardiness and absenteeism will lead to an unsatisfactory work record for you. A supervisor does have the right to terminate your employment.
How long can I work?
You will be given a Work-Study Authorization Form which will specify the dates ouf your employment. You may be able to work during semester break but will need special permission from the Financial Aid Office and your supervisor.
How do work-study students get paid?
Work-study students are paid by Bucks County Community College whether working on or off campus. Your paycheck will be mailed to your home address, or you have the option of Direct Deposit. Federal and state taxes may be withheld from your paycheck. You must pay federal and state income taxes on all earnings including work-study. (Work-Study earnings, however, are excluded when reporting income on financial aid application forms in subsequent years.) The on-campus hourly rate is $9.50. The off-campus hourly rate may range from $9.50 - $15.00.
Where are the work-study jobs?
Work-study jobs are available both on and off campus. Bucks County Community College offers community service jobs both on and off campus. These jobs are designed to improve the quality of life for community residents. Job responsibilities may include clerical duties, reception, technical assistance, tutoring, laboratory work, etc. In addition, various off campus non-profit agencies have contracted with the College to hire work-study students. Agencies such as The Lower Bucks Family YMCA, Habitat for Humanity ReStore and Century 21 Community Learning Centers, are some of the many agencies throughout the County that hire work-study students from Bucks County Community College. The College also employs students as reading tutors of preschool- age children and children in elementary school as part of the school’s effort to support the America Reads Challenge.
What if I want to change jobs?
Once you are hired for a job you cannot change jobs until the end of the semester, or the beginning of the academic year or summer programs. You may quit your job at any time if you so choose, but you should inform your employer in advance. If you are changing your job, you need to secure another authorization form from the Financial Aid Office to be signed by your new supervisor. You may review the job book for open positions if you do not have a particular job in mind.
What if my work-study award is revised?
Occasionally, the Financial Aid Office will revise your work-study award to reflect changes in your eligibility status. If your award is changed, the Financial Aid Office will notify your supervisor of any changes.
What if I am no longer eligible for financial aid?
If you become ineligible for financial aid, you must stop working. Insufficient academic progress or withdrawing to less than 6 credits are two examples of situations that would make you ineligible for financial aid. Normally, the Financial Aid Office will give you written notification if something happens to make you ineligible.
What happens if I am terminated from the Federal Work-Study Program?
A student can be terminated from the program for a number of reasons:
- Failure to maintain satisfactory academic progress
- If you withdraw to less than 6 credits in a semester
- Exceeding your FWS award amount prior to the end of the award period
- Supervisor dismissal: absences, excessive lateness, poor work habits, etc.
A written notice will be sent to the student and supervisor with information for the reason of termination. This notice will include the last date of work for the student. A student will not be paid for any hours after the written termination date of the program. It is the student's responsibility to terminate their employment if they receive written notice of any of the above reasons from the Financial Aid Office or Work Supervisor.
What if I run out of money?
Once you have earned the total amount of your work-study award, you must stop working. Your work-study award represents the maximum amount of money you are allowed to make for the period you are awarded. During your work-study appointment with the Financial Aid Office, the maximum hours per week you can work will be calculated. If you consistently work over the amount of hours needed to earn your award, you will run out of money before the end of the semester. If you do run out of money you can write a letter requesting to be considered for an increase in the amount of your award. Reconsiderations are based on eligibility and availability of funds.
Originally I declined work-study but now I am interested. What do I do?
If you originally declined work-study your work-study award may be canceled. If you would like to be reconsidered for work-study, write an email of reconsideration requesting your work-study award be evaluated. A revised award letter will be sent if funds are available.