Federal Work-Study programs are hiring virtually during the pandemic

The Student Civic Engagement office is hosting virtual interviews for federal work-study this fall. Photo by Olivia Nash | The Signal

The Federal Work-Study program is still offering jobs to undergraduate students. This program provides work experience pertaining to a student’s course of study. 

FWS shifted to online for the remainder of last semester, and institutions were required to pay FWS students the same wages they were making before campus closure, according to Federal Student Aid. The federal law allows institutions to continue paying those students who were unable to work.

If a student did not begin working at an institution prior to COVID-19, they are not eligible for student aid and would not be paid FWS wages. 

Because Georgia State is paying their faculty and staff, graduate students can continue getting paid FWS wages on salary.

According to U.S. News, 18% of families who average $1,847 in aid relied on work-study to pay for college.

Georgia State student Farqan Abdulla has worked in the Student Life Center on the Clarkston campus beginning fall 2019.

“It is really hard especially with no work and [being] a full-time student,” Abdulla said.

Although some FWS jobs are back on campus this fall, students may find it very challenging to take part due to the pandemic.

“I loved working in the Student Life Office as a work-study student,” Abdulla said. “I feel like it wouldn’t be safe for us to work in the office again because [it’s] hard to keep our distance when working in such a small space.”

Abdulla lives with her family and doesn’t want to risk them being exposed to the virus. 

“I would definitely work again if it was online,” Abdulla said. 

Surprisingly, there was no reduction in the number of students that participate in work-study this semester. 

According to the Department of Education’s FY2021 budget request, there was a $680 million reduction in FWS funding. However, Georgia State has not experienced any budget cuts, which results in wages remaining the same for the 2020-2021 academic year, according to Simmons. 

University Career Services continue to offer students help with virtual job searches this fall semester, which includes FWS on campus. 

Director of Student Civic Engagement Ellin McDonough announced that Student Civic Engagement has open positions that can be viewed on Handshake. 

“At [Student Civic Engagement,] we run a small program in which students can earn [Federal Work-Study] through community service,” McDonough said. “Because of the pandemic, many are now virtual work positions or have the option to be flexible.”

A position SCE offers is to work as service ambassadors. 

Handshake is one of the main resources career services provides for students to use when looking for a job virtually that best suits them.

According to Handshake, there are multiple FWS positions that are hiring this fall semester at Georgia State. 

The Office of Student Success University Advisement Center and the Student Center are some of the eligible departments that are hiring for part-time student assistants on campus.

Each FWS position wages between $7.50 and $12 an hour. This amount varies between students as the FWS amount is awarded by financial aid.