Participation Guildelines

The Federal Work-Study Program is administered by the Undergraduate Financial Aid Office. The Work-Study Office is a section of this department.

Student Eligibility

Participation in the Work-Study Program is determined by the student's financial need (total cost of attending Northwestern, minus family contribution) and is awarded as part of a financial aid package. Work-Study is considered a "self-help" component of a student's financial aid. Wages earned through the program supplement student savings and summer earnings, and must be used to defray the cost of attending Northwestern University.

Earnings Limit

On their Financial Aid Announcements, students are granted a work-study earnings limit. This is the maximum amount which may be earned by the student during the academic year. 

It is extremely important to acknowledge the shared responsibility between the Federal Work-Study Office, the student, and the employer to monitor a student's earnings. The student must stop working when the earnings limit is reached. Email notifications will be sent to both the student and the employer when a student approaches the earnings limit. The Federal Work-Study Office must charge the over-earnings directly back to the employer at 100%.

Students should arrange their work schedules to avoid either underearning or prematurely reaching their limits. Students are responsible for earning the entire award that has been calculated into their financial aid package. Students approaching the limit who believe their financial circumstances have changed since accepting the original aid package can submit an earning limit appeal.

Students should be aware that their limits may be decreased during the academic year if unanticipated resources (e.g., scholarships) affect their financial aid packages. Both the student and the employer will be notified if an award is changed.

Students should note that if a change in the financial aid package is necessary, it may be possible to decrease the loan amount instead of the earnings limit. If interested in this possibility, students should contact a financial aid counselor for further information.