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Financial Aid and Scholarships
Student Resources

Federal Work Study Program Student Resources

The Federal Work-Study Program at SUNY ESF can provide employment to eligible students during the summer and academic year. A complete program description can be found in the Federal Work-Study Handbook. Interested students should complete the following steps as necessary.

Apply for Summer FWS

How to Apply for Academic Year Work Study

In order to be considered for an Academic Year FWS grant, students only need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Interest in student employment can be expressed on the application. Eligibility is determined by the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships based on each student's financial need.

How to Apply for Summer Federal Work-Study

In order to be considered for a Summer FWS grant, students should complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) applicable to the academic year following the intended employment period and SUNY ESF's Summer FWS Application.

Academic Year Federal Work-Study Grants

Eligible students will be awarded FWS grant amounts as part of the overall financial aid package. Once the grant has been accepted, the student is eligible to work in an FWS approved position at SUNY ESF until the full grant amount has been earned. Students are responsible for tracking their own earnings during the year and ensuring that their total earnings do not exceed the grant amount. Students who submit time sheets in excess of their approved amount may not be paid for the extra time worked.

Summer Federal Work-Study Grants

Eligible students will be awarded FWS grant amounts as part of the overall financial aid package. In most cases, the amount will be based on the employment availability dates indicated by the student on the Summer FWS Application. Summer grant amounts can usually be adjusted in cases where the student's employment plans change. Students are responsible for tracking their own earnings during the summer and requesting grant increases before earnings have exceeded the originally approved amount.

Summer Savings

The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will calculate a Summer Savings amount for each student offered a grant. This amount represents what the College expects can be saved from summer earnings to be used for educational expenses during the following academic year. Students who do not earn their entire summer grant amount can contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships to request an adjustment to the summer savings amount. Such an adjustment usually allows for additional student and/or parent loan eligibility.

How to Find a Federal Work-Study Position

Prior to each employment period (summer or academic year), the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships will post position descriptions for all available FWS opportunities. These listings will be available on the FWS bulletin board in Bray Hall and on the Position Listings database page, available from the link on the left side of the page. Students are responsible for reviewing these descriptions and contacting the listed supervisors directly to discuss hiring options. Students having difficulty finding an open position should contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships for assistance. Program grants can only be used in the positions from the posted lists. SUNY ESF students can not use a Federal Work-Study grant in a Syracuse University FWS position. However, many ESF students are hired at Syracuse University through other employment programs.

Summer Employment at SUNY ESF Regional Campuses

SUNY ESF will provide assistance with the job search and hiring process for students interested in working in one of the summer FWS positions at a regional campus. Additional information is mailed to all students who apply for a summer FWS grant.

Employment Paperwork

All students must complete the necessary paperwork prior to their first day of work for each employment period. In other words, new forms will be required at the start of each summer and/or academic year period. SUNY ESF can only provide limited guidance with the completion of tax withholding forms. Students who are not sure how to complete these forms may wish to seek assistance from parents or professional tax advisors. Additional information can also be found on the web at and

All Employees - Required

All Employees - Optional

New Employees - Required

*The I-9 form must be completed in-person.  Please bring your blank form and appropriate documentation to an authorized college representative.  A list of acceptable documentation is provided on the back of the form.

Payroll Procedures

Federal Work-Study employees are required to complete bi-weekly time sheets showing hours worked during each period indicated on the FWS Time Period Schedule. All time sheets are required to be completed online in the SUNY Time & Attendance System (TAS). Instructions for accessing and using the system are provided by the SUNY ESF Payroll Office after completion of the hiring process. Time sheets should be completed by the deadline listed for each time period. For students not enrolled in direct deposit, pay checks are mailed from Albany to the permanent address on record. There is a minimum four week lag between the first submitted time sheet and the first available pay check.

A full listing of deadline dates for appointments and time sheets is available in the Payroll Calendar section of the NYS Payroll Forms and Calendars page.

Federal Work-Study employees may work up to 20 hours per week during periods when classes are in session and up to 40 hours per week when classes are not in session. Students under the age of 18 may only work up to 37 1/2 hours per week. Time sheets that are submitted with hours in excess of these limits will be adjusted by the Payroll Office.

Converting Grant Amounts to Hours of Work

Supervisors and Employees will often plan FWS schedules based on an average number of hours to be worked per week. In order to determine how many hours a student can work based on the grant amount, the following calculation should be used:

Grant Amount ÷ Wage Rate ÷ Number of Weeks in Employment Period
= Average Hours of Work per Week

For example, a student working during the academic year with a grant amount of $2,500 would calculate the following:

$2,500 ÷ $15.00 ÷ 30
= 5 Hours Per Week

Please note: the average number of weeks in the summer enrollment period is 15, while the average number for the academic year is 30 (15 per semester). The number of weeks may vary for students who plan to work during semester or other breaks.

Last updated on January 22, 2024