Maxing-out Federal Work Study hours

When students with FWS reach annual pay limits

Many students rely on their Federal Work Study (FWS) jobs to have a bit of cash in their pocket to get by each week. When given a work study position, students know there is a set amount given ($2,500) that they are allowed to earn. However, if a student reached that amount they are cut off from pay.

Students are only allotted to receive up to $2,500 through their Federal Work Study. According to Keene State College’s Federal Work Study Program webpage, “Federal regulations state that KSC cannot provide financial assistance to students in excess of their computed financial need.” Students are aware of this financial restraint when getting involved with their work study job, so it should be no surprise to them if and when they reach the limit.

Once maxed-out, a student can do one of two things. Students can switch to a Student Hourly payroll or terminate from the current payroll. According to KSC’s webpage, “Students who are not eligible for a Federal Work Study Award are still eligible to work on campus under KSC’s Student Hourly Program.”

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

Colton McCracken / Equinox Staff

This then means money is taken from a department’s budget to aid a student who’s already reached their FWS limit. That same money could be used to pay a student who hasn’t earned nearly as much and needs the work just as much. This is provided the department even offers Student Hourly positions. Switching to Student Hourly payroll may be all well and good because that money then would come out of the given department’s budget. Also, if in the case of the department not offering Student hourly jobs, that student who reached their limit is now faced with the decision to either work for free under their FWS or be unemployed and look for pay elsewhere. Maxing out doesn’t happen often, but when it does predicaments like these can arise.

However, these predicaments can be prevented seeing as students are aware of this ahead of time. Also, whether a student chooses to use FWS or Student Hourly money to be put toward school is up to them. Although it’s a wise option, it’s not required. Tuition and textbook prices can run steep, so using this money for things of that nature isn’t a bad idea. The only thing is that it’s not very likely in some cases, especially when textbooks are to be purchased in the beginning of each semester. When combining both semesters, $2,500 can be spent quite easily, not just towards tuition but for other expenses.

Outside of school, students have many expenses that goes into carrying out the college experience. Many students have rent to pay, gas to pump and stomachs to fill. As students get deeper into their college experience and closer to embarking on their destined career paths, more expenses can often times pile on. If a student’s rent were to cost $550, they’d only be able to afford living there for the first semester, provided they didn’t spend their money on anything else.

Some students living off campus have rent and other bills to pay. Students living on campus also have their own individual expenses. Not every student comes from a secure financial background. For some, these pensions are what assist them in being able to afford the necessities.

We at The Equinox feel students shouldn’t be cut-off in general and should be compensated for their work. However, that’s not the case and the limit is in place. Perhaps, students should look into spacing out their work hours or looking into a backup job if funds are running out. So, we suggest students remain conscious of where they’re at on the pay track if working one of those jobs so  that they don’t near or reach the limit. No system is perfect, so students should be aware of what they’re getting into and where they’re at once involved with one of these jobs.

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