Federal Work Study
COMMUNITY-BASED FEDERAL WORK STUDY
Chicago-Kent has funds available to pay students working at Community-Based Organizations. Chicago-Kent students who are Federal Work Study eligible may receive payment for their work at government and public interest organizations in the Chicago area through Federal Work Study funds. However, the number of positions will be limited due to FWS budgetary limitations, and there are other restrictions and limitations as to where students can be funded to work. Please carefully review the Frequently Asked Questions below for more information.
FEDERAL WORK STUDY Applications for Spring 2015 are currently being accepted; deadline to apply January 9, 2015.
Spring 2015 Federal Work Study is from January 20 - May 1 and students can be approved for up to 20 hours per week of work.
In order to qualify students must:
1) Have a job offer at an approved community-based organization
2) Receive and accept a federal work study award through their financial aid package for the 2014-2015 school year
3) Be approved to use federal work study funds while working at that organization by Michelle Vodenik in the Career Services Office. Read below for full details.
Please review the following questions & answers about how the program works and what your responsibilities are as a student participant:
Community-Based Federal Work Study Program Frequently Asked Questions
Federal Work Study (FWS) is a need-based financial aid program established by the federal government. The FWS program provides employment opportunities for eligible students, allowing them to earn, rather than borrow, a portion of their educational costs. On an annual basis, the federal government decides whether to award federal work study funds to Illinois Institute of Technology/Chicago-Kent College of Law and how much money will be awarded. Funds are limited for Community-Based FWS. Even if you have a federal work study award granted to you by the financial aid office, you still have to apply to use the funds during Fall, Spring, and Summer terms.
ELIGIBILITY & APPLICATION
Q: How do I know if I am eligible for Federal Work Study?
A: If you are unsure as to whether you are eligible for Federal Work Study, contact the financial aid office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: How do I become eligible for Federal Work Study?
A: Federal Work Study is awarded to students on a yearly basis. If you have a Federal Work Study award for 2014 - 2015, these funds can be earned from July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015. Federal work study is no longer valid after graduation occurs.
When you fill out your FAFSA (Free Application Federal Student Aid) through the Financial Aid Office for 2014 - 2015, be sure to indicate that you would like Federal Work Study (FWS) if you would like to participate in this program next school year. In addition, please note that FWS is awarded on a first-come, first-served basis by the financial aid office.
Q: If I have been granted a Federal Work Study Award, will I be able to earn the entire amount of the award I'm eligible for?
A: Due to the extreme popularity of Federal Work Study, funds are limited. The demand to be paid with federal work study funds is far greater than the amount of federal work study money available; therefore, Community-Based Federal Work Study positions will be selectively approved. The criteria will include, but is not limited to employment experience and class year.
At this time, we are accepting applications for Community-Based Federal Work Study for Spring 2015.
FINDING A POSITION
Q: How can I find out about FWS community-based positions?
A: A list of organizations approved for the federal work study program is available at the link above.
Q: If I am already planning to volunteer in the spring, summer or fall with a community-based legal organization , and the organization is not on the list above, can I be paid for the work though Federal Work Study Funds?
A: If you are eligible for Federal Work Study, and the organization you are planning to work with is not on the list, please send an email to Michelle Vodenik indicating your interest, and fill out this form. There is no guarantee that we will be able to arrange for a paid experience at any organization. The organization must be approved for federal work study by a compliance officer at IIT and it is up to the organization to decide if they would like to participate in our Federal Work Study Program, but we can approach the organization and ask them if they will consider participating. You cannot be paid for any hours spent at an organization until the signed contract has been returned by that organization.
Q: Will all government agencies or non-profit agencies be approved for Federal Work Study?
A: No, in order for an agency or organization to be approved, the work performed must improve the quality of life for community residents, particularly low-income residents, or solve problems related to their needs. If you have questions about whether an agency has been approved or would qualify, please contact Michelle Vodenik.
Q: I am working at a government or legal aid agency outside of Chicago. Will this qualify for federal work study?
A: No, agencies outside of the Chicagoland area are not eligible for federal work study funding. The focus of community-based federal work is on serving the local community. If you have any question on whether an agency may qualify, please contact Michelle Vodenik.
Q: I am doing a judicial internship, is this experience eligible for Federal Work Study?
A: No, the work of a judicial intern does not qualify for Federal Work Study.
Q: Can I receive both externship credit and Federal Work Study funds for the same position?
A: No. You can not double-up, receiving both externship credit and federal work study funds for any of the same hours at a government agency or legal aid organization.
Q. Can I receive Federal Work Study funds in the summer after the completion of a legal externship (for credit) at a government or legal aid organization?
A. Yes, during the summer once you have completed all of the hours required for your externship for credit, you may be paid for additional hours with Federal Work Study funds. Michelle Vodenik will need verification that all of your externship hours have been completed before you can begin to be paid with federal work study funds. This is not an option during the fall and spring semesters.
Q: If I have been offered a FWS award, do I automatically have a job?
A: No. A FWS award simply means that you have the opportunity to seek employment and earn the amount you have been offered through the FWS program, if you are selected for a FWS position. You must interview for a job and be hired before any FWS funds can be earned. The ultimate decision to hire you is made by the hiring department of the off-campus agency, and not by the Financial Aid Office, the Career Services Office or the Administration & Finance Office.
Q: If I have been offered a FWS award, and I find a position at a community-based organization, will I automatically be approved to use my FWS award?
A: No. The federal government awards the University a set amount of federal work study funds for the entire school year. Unfortunately, the amount awarded by the federal government is not enough to cover all of the demand for students who would like to be paid for Community-Based FWS. Therefore, during the Fall, Spring and Summer terms, you must apply and be approved to be paid with FWS money for all community-based federal work study placements DURING EVERY TERM. Community-based placements include any positions with government or non-profit agencies outside of the law school.
Q. If I receive an internal position at the law school does that position have to be approved by the career services office?
A. No, internal positions at the law school, i.e., research assistant for a professor, work with the Center for Access to Justice and Technology in the Center or at the Self-Help Web Desk, or within a department at the law school, do not have to be approved by the Career Services Office. Internal positions at the law school are posted in the Record, and/or available by speaking with departments, professors, or centers about their opportunities for students.
HOURS & PAYCHECK
Q: How many hours may I work?
A: During the fall and spring semesters, students may be approved to work a maximum of 20 hours per week. During the summer, students may be approved to work a maximum of 40 hours per week. Students are limited to the amount of hours for which they have been approved, as well as the weeks for which they are approved. There is no minimum.
In addition, each student is allowed a set amount of potential FWS earnings each academic year. Students working in an FWS job are responsible for monitoring their own earnings under the FWS program. If a student works the maximum number of allowable hours each week, s/he may use up his/her work-study eligibility before the end of the year. Once all FWS money has been used, employment under FWS will be terminated. A student may then elect to continue with the agency in a volunteer capacity, with the agreement of the agency.
If you work during the summer, you should be aware that FWS earnings will begin to accrue against your annual allocation on July 1, meaning that money you earn after July 1 is charged against your upcoming fall/spring allocation. You must check with the Financial Aid Office to make sure you will be eligible for FWS funds for the upcoming academic year if you plan to work during the summer. In addition, you must intend to enroll in classes for the Fall semester in order to receive FWS funds after June 30.
Q: Who pays me, and how much will I earn?
A: Chicago-Kent College of Law/Illinois Institute of Technology pays you. You are an employee of Chicago-Kent College of Law/Illinois Institute of Technology, and will be issued a W-2 at the end of each calendar year. Federal income tax will be withheld from your pay unless you meet IRS student tax-exempt status. Social Security will be withheld from your wages if you work more than 20 hours per week.
Students can't be paid for any hours worked with federal work study money until the agency/non-profit organization where they are working has signed a contract with Chicago-Kent/IIT to become part of our federal work study program.
In addition, students can't be paid for any hours of work until they have submitted all required documents to the Office of Administration & Finance at Chicago-Kent, proving that they are eligible to work in the United States. Students who are approved to use their federal work study award should respond promptly to all inquiries to turn in the proper paperwork to the Office of Administration & Finance.
Federal Work Study students are paid $11.00 an hour.
Q. How much money can I earn during the semester through federal work study?
A. The semester federal work study term is 15 weeks, and students can work up to 20 hours per week. Therefore, the maximum a student could earn during the semester is $3,300. You must have corresponding federal work study funds available to you through financial aid to be paid for those hours.
In the spring, the federal work study term is January 20, 2015 (the first day of classes) - May 1, 2015. If funds are available, students will be able to apply to use their federal work study award during the fall and spring semesters, but must meet the deadline to apply EVERY TERM in order to be considered.
Q. How much money can I earn during the summer through federal work study?
A. Typically, summer federal work study is 12 weeks; broken up into Summer 1 (mid-May - end of June) and Summer 2 (July 1 - end of the first week of August).
Summer 1 is six weeks, and students can work up to 40 hours per week. Therefore the maximum a student could earn during Summer 1 is $2640. You must have corresponding federal work study funds available to through financial aid to be paid for those hours.
Summer 2 is six weeks, and students can work up to 40 hours per week. Therefore, the maximum a student could earn during Summer 2 is $2640. You must have corresponding federal work study funds available to you through financial aid to be paid for those hours.
Q. Are funds available for the first half of summer 2015?
A. Funds may be limited for the first half of summer 2015. Therefore, students who are working at government and legal aid organizations over the summer are strongly encouraged to become involved with, and seek funds for the summer through, the Kent Justice Foundation (KJF), the Chicago-Kent College of Law's public interest student organization. In addition, Chicago-Kent students can apply for the Justice John Paul Stevens Public Interest Summer Fellowship, which awards a grant of $5000 to two students for their work or government or legal aid organizations in the summer, as well as through additional outside sources of outside funding, such as the Public Interest Law Initiative, Equal Justice America, Equal Justice Works Summercorp, PSJD, and other bar associations that might offer summer funding for students interning at legal aid and government agencies. All of those opportunities to apply for funding have deadlines associated with them, so be sure to watch for deadlines.
Q. Are funds available for the second half of summer 2015?
A. It is likely that funds WILL be available for the second half of summer 2015. The new financial aid fiscal year begins on July 1st, and students who have a federal work study award for the 2015-2016 school year, and intend to enroll in classes at Chicago-Kent during Fall of 2015, will most likely be able to apply to use their federal work study funds for the second half of the summer: from July 1, 2015 - August 7, 2015, for up to 40 hours a week, earning up to $2640. In order to find funding for the first half of the summer, please review the suggestions regarding summer funding in the previous question.
Q: How often will I be paid?
A: FWS employees are paid every two weeks. You must submit a properly completed timesheet by the appropriate deadlines established by the Administration & Finance Office. Every two weeks, your employer will also submit a timesheet to the Administration & Finance Office verifying that you have worked the hours that you have submitted. Failure to comply with payroll procedures will delay a student's paycheck for an entire pay period. Failure to submit completed timesheets by their due dates on multiple occasions may, in the discretion of Chicago-Kent, be grounds for termination from the FWS program.
Q: I have a federal work study award and I have a position at one of the agencies on the list, what do I do now?
A: To be approved to be paid in a Community-Based FWS position, you must fill out the federal work study request form and submit it to the Career Services Office. All requests will be reviewed, and community- based federal work study positions will be selectively awarded. The criteria will include, but is not limited to, employment experience and class year.
Q: If I do not receive a Federal Work Study offer and already have a position lined up at a government or legal aid organization, what are my options?
A. Students may also volunteer their time at government and legal aid organizations. If you do volunteer, be sure to record your volunteer hours through Chicago-Kent's Public Interest Resource Center (PIRC). Students who volunteer 50 hours receive Chicago-Kent's Certificate of Service, while students who complete at least 250 hours of volunteer service are eligible to receive the Dean's Distinguished Public Service Award.
If you would like to borrow the money that the financial aid office had offered you for federal work study, contact the financial aid office and let them know that you would like to decline your federal work study award. Once you have declined your award, you can then borrow the money as a student loan.
Q: What are my responsibilities, as a recipient of federal work study funds?
A. Toward the end of your federal work study term, you will be sent a survey about your experience working with that agency. You must fill out and return the survey about your experience to MIchelle Vodenik in the career services office. All responses are kept confidential. The information will be used to evaluate the experiences students have working with the non-profit and government agencies in the federal work study program, and as a useful tool to guide students in the future who might have an interest in also going to those agencies.
Q: What are my responsibilities to the agency where I will be working?
A: While your paycheck comes from the law school, you are responsible to treat your FWS opportunity as a job. Therefore, you should coordinate a work schedule with your supervisor and meet that schedule to the best of your ability. If you are unable to work, you are expected to notify your supervisor in advance. If you resign your position, you should give your employer a two week notice. You may be discharged by the agency for poor performance, misconduct, excessive absences, tardiness, or at will. You must let the FWS program coordinator know of any changes in your employment status.
Q: What responsibilities does the agency have to me?
A: The agencies agree to supervise in a reasonable manner the work performed by students and submit to the Office of Administration & Finance the appropriate payroll forms every two weeks.
Q: Where can I find more information about the FWS Program?
A: If you are interested in the FWS Program, please stop by the Career Services Office or email Michelle Vodenik, Director, Public Interest/Diversity, Career Services Office.