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COVID-19 and Work Study Update

The Department of Education has released guidance to schools regarding whether students can continue to submit timesheets for scheduled hours in the event that a school does not close but moves all classes to an online format.  They CAN!   According to the Department of Education, the student can be paid for the Federal Work Study (or Montana Work Study) hours he, she, or they were scheduled to work for the spring semester. Per ED, the school can have the student submit a timesheet for the hours he or she was scheduled to work and pay Work Study wages based on that.

It is important that students do NOT submit timesheets for hours in excess of their normally scheduled hours. If a student worker does not have scheduled hours, students can be paid at the average number of hours the student has worked so far this spring term


Work Study FAQs

Work study is a work program in which a student is employed part-time while enrolled in school to help pay your education expenses. These on-campus jobs allow students to work up to 19 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and up to 29 hours per week during the summer. Hours allowed per week depends on the student’s eligibility and the departments need. Work study is limited in funding and requires action from you, the student.

Click Here for Hiring Steps

Types of Work Study

Federal Work Study: The Federal Work Study program is for students with financial need. Students must have the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on file with the Office of Financial Aid. Once the application has been processed, the student must contact the Financial Aid Office, (406-683-7511) to determine eligibility status.

The advantage of Federal Work Study is that the earnings do not count against your financial aid eligibility when you file your next year’s FAFSA. The earnings are taxable and required to be included as income on your federal/state taxes, if you are required to file, but the earnings can be identified on your FAFSA as federal work study earnings which will remove those earnings from your eligibility calculation on the FAFSA.

State Work Study: The State Work Study program is non-need based which means the student does not have to show need after completing the FAFSA. It requires the student to be a Montana resident and requires full-time (12+ hours) enrollment.

How do I find a work-study position?

A list of departments allotted work study positions is maintained by the Career Services Department & posted at https://w.umwestern.edu/section/work-study-positions/. The student must contact the Financial Aid Office to determine eligibility and if eligible, can contact the departments listed in the link above.

How many hours per week can I work?

Based upon a student’s eligibility, students may to work up to 19 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and up to 29 hours per week during the summer. Hours allowed per week depends on the student’s eligibility and the departments need. This also depends upon the work study positions available and funding allotted for the year.

It is the student’s and supervisor’s responsibility to monitor the student’s hours each week and not exceed the total hours per week within the pay period. (ie:  10 hrs per week  x  4 weeks = 40 hours for the pay period)

How many hours must I be enrolled?

Federal Work Study: Students must maintain a minimum enrollment of 3 hours during summer and 6 hours enrollment during the Fall/Spring semester.

State Work Study: Students must maintain an enrollment of full-time (12+ credits).

Can I be employed during the Summer if not enrolled?

Federal Work Study: Yes, with the following requirements:

1.     Student must be registered in a minimum of 6 credit hours for the following Fall semester and

2.     All earnings from Summer will be counted against Fall semester financial aid eligibility.

State Work Study: Yes and enrollment is not required. Due to limited state funding, there may not be any positions available. All earnings from Summer will be counted against Fall semester financial aid eligibility.

Check with the Financial Aid Office prior to accepting a position to determine how the summer earnings may affect your Fall eligibility.

How will I be paid? A student is paid for the hours worked once a month. It is the student’s and their supervisor’s responsibility to submit time sheets in a timely manner. Usually due around the 18th of each month.

Work Study Information

1.     Work Study funds are earned.

Your funds are paid with the monthly payroll based on the number of hours you and your supervisor certify that you worked during the pay period (remember that you cannot work over the number of hours for which you are eligible to work each pay period).  To receive your work study funds you must work.  Work study is just like any other job, you must perform the duties assigned you in order to earn your pay.

2.     Work Study positions are not guaranteed.

There may be more students eligible for Work Study positions than there are positions available.  Financial Aid will make every effort to assist a student in locating a position but the final decision is made by the supervisors.

3.     Talk to Department Supervisors.

Department Supervisors might be interested in hiring you for a position in their department that is paid out of other types of funds. These positions may be posted at https://w.umwestern.edu/section/non-work-study-positions/.