Student Financial Services

Federal Work Study Program

Information for Students

Federal Work Study is awarded as part of an eligible student's financial aid award. 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 Student Financial Services before October 1 if their employment will start after the deadline to avoid losing their award.  To be eligible, the student must:

  • be enrolled at least half time (6 credits per semester for Undergraduate and Law students);
  • be enrolled at least half time (3 credits per semester for Graduate students beginning in Summer 2019, 6 credits per semester for Graduate students prior to Summer 2019);
  • be admitted to a degree program;
  • not be in default on a federal student loan;
  • be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen;
  • have a valid Social Security number;
  • be registered with Selective Service, if required; and 
  • maintain satisfactory academic progress

         If you stop attending classes or drop/withdraw below half time status, employment must be terminated immediately

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, and available positions cover a wide variety of jobs. Off campus jobs are available through some private, non-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 agency call Student Financial Services.

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 - Federal Work Study jobs are posted on the USM Job & Internship Board. A widget is also located in the LaunchPad of your MyUSM Campus Portal. To be eligible for these positions you must have received Federal Work Study funding in your Financial Aid package.

Wages - USM pay scales range from $12.15 (effective 01/01/2021) for entry level positions to $12.65 (effective 01/01/2021) for positions requiring 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.  For more information on wages please visit

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 Student Financial Services.

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 forms 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 contact Student Financial Services or Payroll at (207) 581-9104.

Information for Supervisors