Work Study Awards (including Federal Work Study)

In this article, you'll learn how to set up and use Work Study aid awards—whether the official Federal Work Study (FWS) award or an institutional award from your school. Work Study awards reduce a student's financial need but don't necessarily affect your A/R when they are disbursed (FWS categorically does not). It also has multiple disbursements, usually at regular intervals, throughout an academic term.

Award type setup steps

To ensure that your Work Study awards hit your GL properly, pay attention to the following items:

  • Go to your Chart of Accounts and figure out an asset account for Work Study funds to reside in during their sojourn at your school. You also need to set up any liability accounts you'll need for these awards. You can use existing accounts or create accounts just for this purpose.
  • In Financial Aid > Settings > Award Types, you'll find the built-in Federal Work Study award type. If setting up a different (non-Federal) work study award, choose Work Study as the aid type (and fill in the remaining award type settings as you see fit). You'll need to associate each Work Study award with both a liability and an asset account.

Aid Year Schedule

Work Study awards, because of their frequent disbursement schedules, merit their own, unique aid year schedules.

  1. Go to Financial Aid > Settings > Aid Year Schedules and click Add Schedule.
  2. Under Term Disbursements, for each Academic Term, enter multiple disbursements. Because Work Study 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.
  3. You can either check Equal Disbursement Amounts or divide 100% by the number of disbursements and enter the result in the % field. (You can fiddle with individual disbursement amounts later if need be.)

Packaging Work Study awards

When you offer a Work Study award, do so just as you would for any other financial aid type.

Authorizations for Federal Work Study

If you have offered the student FWS, the student may opt to have the funds applied directly to his student account instead of receiving a paycheck. To do so, he would go to his Profile > Financial Aid view and check the FWS Credit Account option under Authorizations (you can also check that setting on his behalf).

If authorized, when you run a disbursement (see below), the funds will be applied to the student's account, either by paying down applicable invoiced charges or posting as an unapplied payment.


Likewise, when it comes time to disburse the funds, you'll run a disbursement batch as you would for any other award type. A couple things to keep in mind:

  • After selecting the Work Study disbursements scheduled for a given payday, review the Amount column. If a student has earned a different amount than what it scheduled for that pay period, click her name to view her Profile > Financial Aid view. Find the disbursement in question and click to edit it.
  • In the Funds Received step, check the box to credit the award's liability account and debit its asset account.
  • In the Posted to Student Accounts step:
    • FWS will not hit A/R or the student's account. At this point in the batch you'll need to cut a check to the student (unless the FWS Credit Account option has been enabled for the student—see above).
    • Other Work Study awards will post to the student's account—they might pay down charges or become an unapplied payment.

Amounts not disbursed

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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