About the ProgramThe Federal Work-Study Program was established by Congress as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Its purpose is the promotion of part-time employment for students with financial need in order to achieve three main goals:
1) to assist students in earning money to meet their educational costs;Work-study is a federally-subsidized program in which wage costs are shared by the federal government and the individual employers. The current wage cost ratio for On-Campus Employers is 30%-70%. In other words, the On-Campus employer pays 30% of each student's wage, and the Federal Government pays 70%. For Off-Campus employers, the wage cost ratio is 25%-75%. Students may be employed by the University, government agencies, or private, non-profit organizations working for the public good. Because of its federal funding, the Work-Study Program must adhere to strict regulations enacted by Congress and enforced by the U.S. Department of Education.
2) to provide work experience related to the student's chosen academic major or career field; and
3) to improve relations between the University and the community.
Relationship with the Financial Aid Office
At Northwestern University, the Federal Work-Study Program is administered by the Financial Aid Office. The Work-Study Office is a section of this department.
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. Students approaching the limit who believe their financial circumstances have changed since accepting the original aid package should contact a counselor in the Financial Aid Office and appeal for an extension of their earnings limit.
A student hired through the Work-Study Program is responsible for monitoring his or her earnings to ensure compliance with this prescribed limit. Students should therefore 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. If a student does not reach his limit and requires the full award to meet his or her expenses, the balance must be made up through family or other resources.
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. Increases may also occur due to changing family financial circumstances. 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. Also, student aid packages for the following year may be affected if a student earns more than is authorized.