Understanding Your FWS Award

The FWS Allocation

Students can calculate how far their FWS award will go by dividing the total award amount by the number of work weeks anticipated and dividing that result by the hourly rate. Example:

    If you have a $3,200 FWS award, and you work 32 weeks at $10 per hour, then you can work up to 10 hours per week. Your gross earnings (before taxes) will be $100 per week.

Or, consult the FWS Award Chart for some common award amounts and calculations for 32 weeks of work at several levels of pay.

Reaching the FWS Allocation

Pending further arrangements, FWS students who reach their maximum award limit must stop working immediately. However, if the employer wishes to continue employing the student, he/she may do so, but will assume 100% of the payroll expense.

Scheduling FWS Student Work Hours

Employers of FWS students should try when possible to assign weekly work hours that will allow a student to maximize his/her FWS allocation. Although a student is not obligated to earn the entire award, many rely on FWS earnings to meet educational costs. FWS students generally work an average of 10 to 20 hours per week, depending on course load and class schedule. Under no circumstances may FWS students work over 8 hours in one day or over 40 hours in a seven-day week. This includes work during holidays, vacations, or semester breaks.

FWS Award Increases

Adjustments to FWS allocations may be made if an applicant’s financial need allows for an increase and funds are available to finance the increase. The employer and employee should consider the time requirement of the student’s FWS job in relation to pay rate and FWS allocation for the entire academic year. If it appears that the allocation will be exhausted before the job ends, then a request may be made for an increase through the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs when the award is nearly depleted.

FWS Award Reductions

Occasionally it is necessary for the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarship Programs to reduce a student’s FWS award. This may occur when a student receives assistance not originally included in his or her initial financial aid package, or when other student earnings or resources are brought to the attention of the financial aid counselor. Should this occur, the student should discuss with his/her employer the impact to the work schedule in terms of exhausting the FWS award.

Reporting FWS Time Worked

In order to satisfy federal requirements, HRSES developed a form for recording hours worked by FWS students. Employing departments are responsible for duplicating and maintaining their own supply of forms. Hours recorded on the timesheet are then input to the electronic payroll system. An FWS employee should sign in and out of work on a daily basis, and only actual hours worked may be recorded. This does not include lunch periods or other non-work time. In addition, federal regulations do not permit a student’s work schedule to conflict with his or her class schedule. At the end of each work week, both the student and supervisor must sign the timesheet, certifying that the work hours reported are accurate and that payment will be received by the student. If a student’s work performance is other than satisfactory, the supervisor should include a comment on the timesheet.

The total number of hours on the weekly FWS time sheet should coincide with the number of hours reported electronically for that same work week. Discrepancies or errors should be corrected and documented by the supervisor.

To ensure compliance with FWS record-keeping requirements, both the HRSES staff and federal auditors will visit employing departments to review records. Annual program auditors require departments to keep time sheets on file for five years after the close of the University’s fiscal year. Failure to comply with these requirements may jeopardize the University’s FWS fund eligibility.

Dual FWS Jobs

The student should notify the primary employer and/or department of any additional jobs he/she holds so that the FWS funds can be closely monitored.

Changing FWS Jobs

Once a student accepts a FWS job offer, it is expected that he/she will assume the responsibilities attached to that position for the entire FWS award period or until the allocation is exhausted. Therefore, before making a commitment to an employer, the student is advised to ask pertinent questions during the job interview to ensure the position is satisfactory. In some cases, however, a student may find it necessary to change FWS jobs. Although there are no limits to the number of on-campus job changes that a student may make, there are change restrictions for off-campus FWS jobs. Contact HRSES for assistance. The student employee should give the employer at least a two-week notice or work at least the last four scheduled shifts to allow time for finding a suitable replacement.

Summer Employment

HRSES can often help students who need summer employment, and full and part-time summer work opportunities are available on campus and in the Syracuse community and posted at http://www.sujobopps.com. The student’s availability will need to be flexible in order to pursue these employment opportunities.