Federal Work Study (FWS) for Research Assistants

What is Federal Work Study?

 

The Office of Undergraduate Research promotes using Federal Work Study (FWS) and the Florida Work Experience Program (FWEP) to fund research assistants’ wages. FWS is a federally funded program that provides college students, who qualify for this financial-need based program, a chance to learn useful skills that can be applied to their future employment and earn money while pursuing their degree. The Florida Work Experience Program (FWEP) is a state-based program designed to support students with financial need in gaining work experience relevant to their field of study through an internship experience; research internships can be a great fit for this program.

In terms of undergraduate research, skills can be developed in a faculty mentored and structured research environment as a Research Assistant under FWS or FWEP.  Students have the opportunity to learn essential aspects of the research process and gain experience in academic research and collaboration.

 

Why pursue Federal Work Study?

Faculty/Employers

Faculty mentors, or department liaisons, have the opportunity to employ students to work with them on research and creative scholarship while FWS student employees gain valuable research experience and income.

 

Students

If qualified, students have the opportunity to receive hourly payment when working with faculty as a research assistant, instead of just volunteering for the position.

 

Steps to Complete:

  1. Contact workstudy@ucf.edu with the below information:
    1. Position description for the Research Assistant (if you do not have one, you can build one using the form below)
    2. The number of hours you would like to hire the student to work, per week
    3. Desired hourly wage
    4. If known, provide FWS or HR liaison name and contact

 

Steps to Complete to Become FWS/FWEP Eligible:

  1. Prior to the beginning of each semester, check with Office of Student Financial Assistance to see if/how much you qualify for Federal Work Study.
    • Federal Work Study and Florida Work Experience Progrma  eligibility is determined by the information submitted on the FAFSA. Check https://finaid.ucf.edu/ for the most up to date criteria for qualification.
  2. If you do qualify, accept your award on myUCF > View Financial Aid.
  3. Complete the annual FWS Contract on your MyUCF To Do List

How Much Does it Cost?

Federal Work Study: When a student participates in FWS, there is a departmental FWS account though which they are paid. Their wages do not come from your budget, but you are responsible for paying the Fringe Benefits (2% of earnings; earnings are capped at $2500/semester).

Florida Work Experience Program: These wages come out of your departmental account, but are reimbursed once a month.

For Faculty: Build an Undergraduate Research Position Description

Use the form below to fill in the blanks in this sample position description for FWS and/or FWEP. The form will email you a copy that can be forwarded to workstudy@ucf.edu.

Undergraduate students will participate in a research experience, working on experimental, analytical, or observational projects in a formal UCF research setting. Duties may include: [insert duties here]

Specific duties are based on individual student background and ability. Projects may vary depending on the research needs at the time. Students will be supervised by the appropriate content experts (i.e., UCF faculty members).

Hours are between [insert hours here] hours per week, schedule depending upon student course load and research groups hours.

Pay rate is [insert pay here] per hour.


  • Hold the shift key to select multiple activities
  • Federal Work Study awards are capped at $2500 per term, but there may be flexibility in this if a student qualifies for the Florida Work Experience Program and has a higher financial need.