Federal Work Study 

Federal Work-Study (FWS)  was established by Congress as part of the Economic Opportunity Act of 1964. Its purpose is the promotion of part-time employment for students with financial need in order to achieve three main goals:

  1. To assist students in earning money to meet their educational costs
  2. To provide work experience related to the student’s chosen academic major or career field
  3. To improve relations between the College and the community.

Students may be employed by Merritt College, government agencies, or private, non-profit organizations working for the public good. Because of its federal funding, the Federal Work-Study Program must adhere to strict regulations enacted by Congress and enforced by the U.S. Department of Education.

Student Eligibility RequirementsEarnings Limit

Participation in the Work-Study Program is determined by the student’s financial need (total cost of attending Merritt College, minus family contribution) and is awarded as part of a financial aid package. To be considered to participate in the Federal Work-Study Program, a student must meet the following requirements:

  1. Demonstrate financial need based on the information you provided on the FAFSA.
  2. Be enrolled in a minimum 6 units at Peralta Community College District, 3 units must be on the Merritt College’s campus.
  3. Be working towards a degree, certificate, or transfer program.
  4. Be making Satisfactory Academic Progress towards a declared program.
  5. Not in default on any Direct Loan, or Federal Family Educational Loans (FFEL), includes Subsidized or Unsubsidized Stafford Loans.
  6. Not owe grant repayment.
  7. Be registered with Selective Service, if required.
  8. Be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen.
  9. Be at least 18 years of age.

On their Financial Aid Award, students are granted a work-study earnings limit. This is the maximum amount which may be earned by the student during the academic year.

It is extremely important to acknowledge the shared responsibility between the Federal Work-Study Program, the student, and the employer to monitor a student’s earnings. The student must stop working when the earnings limit is reached. Email notifications will be sent to both the student and the employer when a student approaches the earnings limit. The Federal Work-Study Program must charge the over-earnings directly back to the employer at 100%.

Students should arrange their work schedules to avoid either underearning or prematurely reaching their limits. Students are responsible for earning the entire award that has been calculated into their financial aid package. Students approaching the limit may appeal for an increase by contacting, Stephanie Hess, Financial Aid & Placement Assistant.

Students should be aware that their limits may be decreased during the academic year if unanticipated resources (e.g., scholarships) affect their financial aid packages. Both the student and the employer will be notified if an award is changed.


Get a jobCalculate Hours per WeekCreate a Work Schedule
  1. You are required to have a resume. The One Stop Career Center is available to help you develop your resume. Your resume will be an important tool for the rest of your career; and you will continue to add your experience as you grow in your position or experience new positions.
  2. Visit the Merritt College Financial Aid Office to express your interest in the FWS program and ask for a Federal Work-Study New Student Application.
  3. Jobs that are currently hiring will be posted on this page below the ‘Jobs’ section. Please review the positions you are interested in and list the department’s your interested in working for on your New Student Application.
  4. You need to submit your application and resume to the Financial Aid Office so it can be forwarded to the employer.
  5. The employer will review all applications received and select the top applicants for an interview.
  6. The employer will contact you to schedule an interview if you are selected. After the interview the employer will select the applicant best suited for the position.
  7. If you are selected, the employer will contact you to discuss work schedule, office policies, and student rights and responsibilities.
  8. Before you begin employment you must complete additional paperwork to demonstrate you are eligible for employment. Make an appointment with Stephanie Hess, Financial Aid and Placement Assistant, at the Merritt College Financial Aid Office to complete your employment packet.

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) award table will help to determine how many hours a student will be able to work per week during the academic year based on the FWS award amount. The academic year is assumed to be 34 weeks (17 weeks per semester). The basic formula behind these figures is:

(FWS Award Amount ÷ Weeks per Academic Year) ÷ Hourly Wage = Hours per Week

Please note that if the student works during winter break, spring break, or during summer, this will reduce the number of hours he or she will be able to work during the regular academic term, and will also count towards the student’s annual work-study award limit.

FWS Award Table (19-20)

When creating a student’s work schedule, we encourage supervisor’s to be flexible. The following limits apply to their work hours. They may not work:

  • more than 20 hours per week during normal academic periods
  • more than 40 hours per week during academic breaks such as Spring and Winter break
  • more than 8 hours per day
Students are not permitted to work in FWS positions during scheduled class times. Exceptions are permitted if an individual class is cancelled. Any such exceptions must be documented.

Students are entitled to a paid 15 minutes break after working 4 consecutive hours. They must take a  meal break of not less than 30 minutes within a daily work period of five hours or more. However, if the work period is not more than six hours, the meal break may be waived by the mutual consent of you and the student. Meal breaks are not paid time.


Employment FormsStudent TimesheetLeave of Absence Report for Student Employees

First-time hires are required to fill out the following forms and return them to Stephanie Hess, Financial Aid and Placement Assistant, before they may begin working.

Student employees will report their time worked on a monthly timesheet. Timesheets must be signed by the student, supervisor, and administrator. It is important that timesheets are submitted to the Business Office on time or the student’s paycheck may be delayed until the next pay period.

Timesheet Due Dates & Pay Dates

Dates Worked Due in Business Office Pay Date
07/01 – 07/31 07/25/19 08/15/19
08/01 – 08/31 08/26/19 09/13/19
09/01 – 09/30 09/24/19 10/15/19
10/01 – 10/31 10/28/19 11/15/19
11/01 – 11/30 11/25/19 12/13/19
12/01 – 12/31 12/13/19 01/15/20
01/01 – 01/31 01/27/20 02/14/20
02/01 – 02/29 02/24/20 03/13/20
03/01 – 03/31 03/23/20 04/15/20
04/01 – 04/30 04/24/20 05/15/20
05/01 – 05/31 05/22/20 06/15/20
06/01 – 06/30 06/23/20 07/15/20

Per City of Oakland Paid Sick Leave Ordinance: Employees shall accrue one (1) hour of paid sick leave for every thirty (30) hours worked. Employees are required to observe a 90 day waiting period before utilization of sick leave.


Students must submit a Leave of Absence Report each month along with their monthly timesheets, even if no sick leave is taken.

Work-Study Award Tracking SheetDaily Sign-In Sheet

Students can use this worksheet to keep track of their Federal Work-Study earnings to ensure that they stay within the limits of their allotted award amount.

To use the worksheet, the student should begin by writing in the total amount of his/her Work-Study award on the total award line. This amount can be found by logging into the Student Center and viewing the student’s Financial Aid Award Letter. When the first paycheck is received, the gross (pre-tax) amount of the check should be recorded in the gross pay column for the appropriate pay date. The remaining award amount can then be calculated by subtracting the gross pay from the total award. Each subsequent paycheck should be recorded in the same manner, subtracting the gross pay from the remaining award balance of the previous pay period to determine the current amount left to earn.

It is the student’s responsibility to monitor his or her Federal Work-Study Award.

FWS Award Tracking Sheet

This resource is not mandatory but is available for all departments, to help keep track of the hours a student has worked.

To use the sign-in sheet, the student should begin by writing their name at the top and the current month. Everyday, when the student reports to work, they will write the date and their time in and get a staff member to sign them in (student workers should not sign other student workers in/out). Subsequently, when the students shift is done, a staff member would sign them out before they leave.

Daily Sign In for Student Workers