Federal Work Study

The Harvard Student Employment Office administers the Federal Work Study Program (FWSP) for Harvard students working in off-campus agencies. How can we help your organization? FWSP offers significant cost savings in employing eligible Harvard students. Rather than paying the student's full wage, your organization will typically only be responsible for a portion of the agreed upon hourly rate plus payroll taxes and fringe benefits.

  • Non-profit organizations: The standard FWSP reimbursement rate is 75%, with the employer responsible for the remaining 25% plus payroll taxes and fringe benefits.

  • For-profit organizations: The reimbursement rate is 50%, with the employer resposible for the remaining 50% plus payroll taxes and fringe benefits.

If your organization can demonstrate financial hardship, the Student Employment Office can offer a 10% option (plus payroll taxes and fringe benefits) depending on your specific organization. Since FWSP is a federally-funded financial aid program, the Student Employment Office will take care of payroll services and then bill your organization for the employer's share at the end of the employment period.

Getting Started

  • Confirm that your organization is eligible to participate in the Federal Work Study Program. Most for-profit enterprises are not eligible.

  • Determine your budget for student employment. Keep in mind that the maximum your organization is responsible for is 25% of a student's earnings (plus payroll taxes and fringe benefits). If your organization can demonstrate financial hardship or is a community service focused organization you may be considered for a 10% share (plus payroll taxes and fringe benefits). Contact us with your specific situation.

  • Recruit a Harvard student through the Student Employment Office Jobs Database. When posting a job, be sure to choose whether you are only accepting FWSP students or if any Harvard student is welcome to apply. While we can't stop non-FWSP students from applying, choosing Federal Work Study Program as a funding source will limit the number of non-FWSP applicants.

  • Need assistance using the Jobs Database? Check out our help page.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Referral Form and who is responsible for completing it?

The Referral Form registers a work study job with the Student Employment Office. The SEO will then activate the WST time reporting code in PeopleSoft thereby allowing students to accurately report their time and administrators to take advantage of the significant cost savings associated with Federal Work Study. The form requests basic information about the position and also the department's TUB/ORG. It should be completed by the student with the help of the supervisor.

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How do I find out if a student is Federal Work Study Eligible?

The easiest way is to submit a job referal card for the student. You would then receive an email from the SEO specifying whether the student is eligible or not.

Undergraduates can check at my.harvard.edu by reviewing their financial aid award letter. The line item would look as so: Term Time Work Expectation (Work Study).

Graduate students should inquire with their school's financial aid office.

Is Federal Work Study available in summer and during the breaks?

Yes, students utilizing their Federal Work Study awards may also work during the summer, winter recess, any holiday, or spring break. You will need to rehire them in the summer due to the fringe benefit attached to Summer FWS.

Summer FWSP Note: Especially for summer, because Federal Work Study is a form of financial aid, make sure the student FAFSA is completed as soon as possible, and apply for financial aid through Harvard. Undergrads will also have to complete a short form indicating their  interest in Summer Federal Work Study....

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