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Federal Work Study

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program is a federally funded program administered by the Center for Student Financial Aid that provides employment opportunities to students to earn money for college related expenses in approved on or off campus jobs. Students may not work more than 20 hours per week while classes are in session. The annual award amounts up to $4,000. Students must be enrolled at least half-time to use their Work Study award.

Work Study funds are limited. Priority funding consideration will be given to students who submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the March 2nd priority funding consideration deadline each year.

Financial aid recipients who have never worked as FWS students and who were not initially offered a FWS awards, may submit a FAN Change Form to request an FWS award. The awarding of FWS funds will be dependent upon determination of the student's aid eligibility and the availability of funds.

Work Study positions are available both on-campus and off-campus. The off-campus jobs usually involve community service, such as tutoring and counseling in the local public schools.

Graduate Assistantships and Teaching Associates:

There are two different kinds of student employees: academic student employees and student assistants. An academic student employee is a student who is hired to do work that is academic in nature; that is, their primary work assignment must be related to a program of study offered in this University. There are three categories of academic student employment: Teaching Associates, Graduate Assistants, and Instructional Student Assistants. All other student employees (besides TAs, GAs, and ISAs) are simply student assistants.

A Teaching Associate is a graduate student hired to teach a course or laboratory in the same department in which they are enrolled in graduate study. (There may be exceptions to this for students in interdisciplinary programs, who may be hired to teach in disciplines related to their graduate studies.) The TA is the instructor of record, and has primary responsibility for the course, including grading. They work under the supervision of a faculty member, but are expected to have the expertise and independence to teach the (introductory-level) course. A TA must be admitted to or enrolled in the graduate program in which they teach.

A Graduate Assistant is a graduate student hired to assist one or more faculty members with professional or technical duties. This may include holding discussion sections related to a faculty member’s course(s), holding office hours, providing tutoring, proctoring exams, running laboratory exercises, grading papers, serving as a research or laboratory assistant, and so forth. As with the TA, a GA’s work assignment must be related to their graduate studies; however, the requirements of this classification are slightly looser. The GA may work in a department in which he or she is not enrolled in graduate studies, provided that the work they are hired to do is closely related to their own studies. For example, a student who is enrolled in mathematics may work as a GA in physics, and a student studying computer information systems might be hired to assist in a computer graphics course in the Art department. Similarly, a GA may be hired in an interdisciplinary department, even if that department does not offer a graduate degree program. In every case, however, the GA’s work assignment should be related to their graduate study, and the GA must be enrolled during every semester in which they work as a GA.

Instructional Student Assistant: any student (graduate or undergraduate) who is hired to assist in an academic setting; ISA’s may be hired to teach (though not to be an instructor of record for a course), grade, tutor, help out in laboratories, mentor other students, and the like. Unlike TAs and GAs, ISAs are not restricted in terms of the subject matter they are studying—that is, any student may be hired as an ISA in any department, provided that their work assignment is academic in nature and they are enrolled in some degree program during the term(s) in which they work as an ISA. For example, a physics major may be hired as an ISA to provide tutoring in the Writing Center, and Art major may be hired as an ISA to assist in a computer lab, and an Economics major 1 The ‘admitted to’ simply allows a department to hire an incoming student as a TA on their way into the program. Once hired, a TA is expected to be enrolled in the graduate program during each semester in which they work as a TA. may be hired as an ISA to grade papers in the philosophy department—provided that in each case the student is qualified to do the work they are hired to do.

Student Assistants. students hired to perform clerical tasks or other non-academic work (e.g., to assist in moving furniture).  

How to Search for Available Work Study positions:

Eligibility Criteria:

  • Must have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) for the current award year (i.e. 2017-2018) - visit www.fafsa.ed.gov
  • Must have demonstrated financial need, with an unmet need of at least $750.
  • Must be meeting all minimum Satisfactory Academic Progress standards. Visit the Financial Aid Office web site at http://www.calstatela.edu/financialaid/ for more information.
  • Must be enrolled at least half-time (6 units undergraduate or graduate).
  • Must have a completed Financial Aid file and have received official award notification from the Financial Aid Office. Award eligibility may also be viewed via the GET system.

Roles of Departments and Students:

  • Career Center -– responsible for posting all available job opportunities via CareerLink.
  • Financial Aid Office -– responsible for determining a student's FWS award eligibility; collecting hiring forms from student and hiring department; and, providing final authorization for monthly payroll submissions by departments.
  • Hiring Department -– responsible for conducting interviews, selecting applicants for hire; assigning job responsibilities and monitoring performance; and, submitting monthly payroll to the Financial Aid Office.
  • Student - responsible for maintaining half-time enrollment and Satisfactory Academic Progress; meeting all departmental and University standards of conduct and work performance; and, submitting monthly timecard before month-end payroll processing deadline.

Hiring Process:

  1. Research available positions via CareerLink
  2. Submit an employment application to the Career Development Center, and interview for position with the potential hiring department(s).
  3. The hiring department will inform all candidates of selection for the available positions.
  4. Selected applicants will receive an Employee Transaction Form (ETF) from the department to submit to the Financial Aid Office.
  5. Students selected for hire would need to visit the Financial Aid Office to complete the following documents:
    • Copy of Social Security Card (back and front)
    • Copy of Driver's License or State Identification Card
    • Verification of U.S. Citizenship (i.e. birth certificate, U.S. Passport, or other)
    • Payroll hiring packet (forms provided by the Financial Aid Office)