Federal Work-Study

Students who file the FAFSA by the priority aid deadline set by Iowa State, indicate on the FAFSA that they are interested in receiving Work-Study funds, and demonstrate financial need through their FAFSA may be eligible for the Work-Study program.


  • College Work-Study (CWS) subsidizes some student jobs with federal and institutional funds
  • The employing department pays 40% of wages while the College Work-Study Program funds the remaining 60%.
  • CWS benefits both the employer and the student
    • Employers only have to pay a portion of the CWS student’s payroll
    • Students may credit their CWS income as financial aid to reduce their Student Contribution and increase their eligibility for future need-based aid


  • Student eligibility for employment under CWS is based on financial need, as determined by the FAFSA
  • Pay rates and job descriptions for CWS-funded positions are identical to those for similar positions not funded through CWS
  • Students authorized for CWS receive preference in hiring, so it’s best to indicate interest in CWS when completing the FAFSA
  • Students who are eligible for CWS will be notified of their eligibility on their Financial Aid Award
  • Funds for CWS are limited, and not all students who are eligible can be placed on the program
  • Students should begin their job search and arrange interviews as early as possible during the first week of the semester
  • A great resource to find both CWS and non-CWS jobs is the Student Job Board
  • Remember, many part-time jobs on-campus and in the Ames area are not funded through CWS, so CWS funds may be exhausted by the time a student finds a position


  • America Reads/America Counts – America Reads/America Counts is a program that employs Iowa State Work-Study eligible students to tutor local students in partnership with Central Iowa schools and afterschool programs. Trained tutors work directly with students in grades PK-8 in reading and math, while supported by teachers and staff. Learn more or apply to be a tutor.
  • Off-Campus Work-Study
  • On-Campus Work-Study – The College Work-Study (CWS) Program provides job opportunities for eligible undergraduate students with financial need who are enrolled at least half time, allowing them to earn money to help pay indirect education expenses. The program encourages community service work and employment related to their course of study. Benefits include flexible schedules that work around class schedules and wages earned to not be counted as income on the next year’s’ FAFSA.
  • Undergraduate Research Assistant – Iowa State University’s Undergraduate Research Assistantship (URA) Program is an application based program. URA encourages outstanding Work-Study eligible juniors and seniors to pursue graduate study by offering them hands-on experience in a formal research environment at a standard minimum pay rate. URA students are matched with interested faculty annually. Interested faculty or students can learn more or apply.


Learn more about Work-Study in Workday and find our Work-Study calendar.