Financial Aid Office

Federal Work Study - The Basics

Federal Work Study is awarded as part of an eligible student's Financial Aid award. You must remain enrolled for at least six credit hours each semester to continue on the Federal Work Study program. If you stop attending classes or drop/withdraw below six credit hours, employment must be terminated immediately.  The award is earned through employment and students are paid only for the hours worked.  Students who do not begin working by October 1, may lose their Federal Work Study award.  Students must notify Financial Aid before October 1 if their employment will start after the deadline to avoid losing their award.

A variety of valuable work experience...USM has Federal Work Study with both on and off campus employers. Most jobs are located on campus at University offices and departments. Available positions cover a variety of jobs - teaching children to read, office work, grounds-keeping, radio, costuming are just a few of the available positions. Off campus jobs are available through some private, not-for-profit agencies and local, state or federal public agencies. These agencies must complete a FWS Agreement and pay a federally required wage match. Contact our office for more information regarding off campus jobs or have the interested off campus call the USM Financial Aid Office.

Before you start looking... A Federal Work Study position is a real job. You will gain valuable work experience to add to your work resume. Decide what types of jobs best fit your level of experience and your class schedule before you contact employers for an interview.

How to find a job... A listing of Federal Work Study jobs can be found at the Student Success/Ingternships & Career Placement Office website. click the following link to be transferred to the E-Recruiting system:   You must log in or review the Student Guide if you are a first time user.  Also, many jobs are advertised on hallway bulletin boards across campus.  Ask department offices if positions are available.  Ask your instructors if they know of available jobs.  Keep your eyes open, be persistent and don't give up!

Wages... USM pay scales range from $7.75 (effective Summer 2005) for entry level positions to $10.00 (effective Summer 2005) for positions requiring a more skill or experience. Each job is advertised with the job title, pay rate, department/agency name, contact person, job location and a phone number to call to ask questions regarding an advertised position or to arrange an interview.

Work Schedule... Students may earn up to the full amount of their Federal Work Study award. You and your employer will establish a work schedule. Students may hold more than one work study position.

Work Authorization & Getting on the Payroll... Students working for a USM office or department must obtain a work authorization prior to beginning their work-study employment.  The student's supervisor will complete the work authorization using a web-based program provided by the Student Payroll Office.  You cannot start working until the Work Authorization is processed.  You will record your work hours each week using MaineStreet.  Late time submission means late pay checks.

Students working for an off-campus agency must obtain a work authorization from the USM Financial Aid Office in Gorham.

First time Federal Work Study employees must complete W-4 forms (federal and state withholding) and I-9 form (INS employment eligibility) within three days of starting a new job.  Bring two forms of identification with you, such as: a driver's license, State ID, Military ID, birth certificate, Social Security Card, Passport, etc.  You will complete these when your employer completes your work authorization.   

Paychecks... Failure to complete Work Authorization, W-4 forms, I-9 forms and/or time cards will delay your pay check.  Emergency Loans will not be issued for late time cards or missing paperwork.  The USM payroll schedule is bi-weekly and you will not receive your first pay check for about a month. You will designate on the Work Authorization where you wish your pay check to be sent. You may also arrange for direct deposit to your bank account. Pay checks and direct deposits are available every other Friday according to the student payroll schedule.

Additional Questions...Please feel free to contact the Financial Aid Office or Student Payroll Services at 780-5500.