Federal Work Study

Federal Work Study (FWS) is a type of financial aid that...

  • (like all aid) reduces a student's financial need
  • (unlike other aid) doesn't directly affect your Accounts Receivable
  • (unlike most other aid) has multiple disbursements throughout the Academic Term

This workflow enables FWS to hit your accounting as it ought to while at the same time enabling multiple scheduled disbursements in an Academic Term.


  1. Go to your Chart of Accounts and figure out an asset account for FWS funds to reside in during their sojourn at your school. You can use an existing account or create one just for this purpose.
  2. Next, go to Populi Financial > Settings. In the Federal Work Study Account setting, select the asset account you just set apart for FWS.

financial settings.png

Now that you've done this, FWS is tied to an asset account that isn't Accounts Receivable. Without taking these steps, you can't use FWS as Financial Aid at your school.

Aid Year Schedule

In Financial > Financial Aid > Settings, go to Aid Year Schedules.

Click Add Schedule. A good Name for this schedule would be Federal Work Study, but that's really up to you.

Under Term Disbursements, for each Academic Term, enter multiple disbursements. Because FWS is normally disbursed as a paycheck to the student, the disbursement dates can fall on your school's paydays—say, the 1st and 15th of every month. In the % field, enter some value that accords with the number of disbursements over the Academic Year. Say there are 20 disbursements—enter 5% for each (you can change these later).

Make sure you check off Federal Work Study!

Offering FWS to Students

When you offer FWS awards, do so just as you would for any other financial aid type. Remember that though it affects Remaining need, it will not ultimately affect your Accounts Receivable.


When it comes time to disburse the funds—as you know—you'll need to run a batch. Find all the FWS disbursements scheduled for a given payday, and review the Amount column. It's quite possible that the student might have worked more or worked less during that pay period and, consequently, has a different amount to be paid to him. When you find such discrepancies, click the student's name to view their awards. Find the disbursement in question and click the pencil manage.png to edit it.

When you're done adjusting individual disbursements, click Create this batch.

When the funds post to the students' accounts:

Their balance will not be directly affected. To pay down their balances, they must now hand that money right back to you. So, the final step in getting FWS to hit your A/R is to record a payment from the student.


If there's an unused portion of the award at the end of the Aid Year, refund it to the source.

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