Off-Campus Federal Work Study

What is Off-Campus Federal Work Study?

The Off-Campus Federal Work Study (FWS) Program is a federally funded and need-based program that offers off-campus jobs for eligible students enrolled at least half time. This program allows students to earn money to help pay education expenses and to gain employment that is connected to the community and related to their academic pursuits.

FWS eligibility is determined when students file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) each year. FWS does not directly pay tuition and fees; instead, once hired in an Off-Campus Federal Work Study position, students will receive a paycheck that is subtracted from their total award over the course of the year. 

What are the benefits of participating in the Off-Campus Federal Work Study program?

The Off-Campus Federal Work Study program offers benefits to both eligible students and employers. 

Through the Off-Campus FWS program, students…

  • Impact the communities surrounding Kent State through their work experience at local non-profit organizations or government agencies
  • Experience opportunities for networking and developing connections in their professional community 
  • Connect their academic pursuits to their professional setting

Through the Off-Campus FWS program, employers…

  • Add motivated students to staff prepared to make original contributions to organization
  • Collect reimbursement for 75% of FWS students’ earnings (100% if participating through America Reads / America Counts)
  • Increase exposure of organization to prospective full-time employees

Where can I find more information on the Off-Campus Federal Work Study program at Kent State?

For more information:

Off-Campus Federal Work Study for Students

How do I know if I am eligible for Off-Campus Federal Work Study positions?

You can check your FWS eligibility on FLASHline

  • Log on to FLASHline and select Student from the main menu.
  • Under Finances, click on Financial Aid.
  • Click on Financial Aid Awards, select the current aid year from the drop down and Submit.
  • Click on the Award Overview tab.

What organizations offer Off-Campus Federal Work Study positions?

Kent State has relationships with several non-profit organizations in the surrounding area that employ FWS-eligible students. Current partners include: Akron Public Schools/Project Grad, Girl Scouts of North East Ohio, Hartville Thrift Shoppe, Hattie Larlham, Davey Elementary School, King Kennedy Community Center, the Portage Area Regional Transportation Authority (PARTA), and Skeels-Mathews Community Center.

What is America Reads / America Counts tutoring, and is this program a part of the Off-Campus Federal Work Study Program?

The America Reads / America Counts tutoring program is a part of Off-Campus Federal Work Study and aims to enhance the primary-level reading and math skills of children in the Kent/Ravenna area while offering Kent State students a chance to gain valuable experience and engage with their community. America Reads / America Counts tutors are compensated through FWS funds and training from their site. 

America Reads / America Counts sites include: 

  • Davey Elementary School (Kent)
  • King Kennedy Community Center (Ravenna)
  • Skeels-Mathews Community Center (Ravenna)

These tutoring positions, when available, can be found on Handshake under “Tutor – America Reads/America Counts.”

What is the difference in the hiring process between the regular Off-Campus Federal Work Study program and America Reads / America Counts tutoring?

In the regular Off-Campus Federal Work Study program, your application is reviewed by the organization hosting the opportunity. If you are eligible for a FWS position and meet the qualifications, the hiring organization will contact you to schedule an interview. If hired, you will be considered to be an employee of that organization. 

In the American Reads / America Counts tutoring program, a Community Engaged Learning staff member will review your application. If you are eligible for a FWS position and meet the qualifications, Community Engaged Learning will contact you to schedule an initial interview. If you advance in the process following this conversation, you will be responsible for contacting your respective site(s) to schedule a second interview with the site supervisor. Should they make an offer, you will work with the Community Engaged Learning office to complete hiring paperwork before working your first shift.

Can I work as many hours as I wish?

No. Your earning cannot total more than your overall FWS award. 

Can I have more than one work study position?

As long as you do not exceed 20 hours a week combined between all positions, you can have more than one work study job. If you are working multiple jobs, you will need to monitor yourself that you do not work more than 20 hours in a week.

Are Federal Work Study positions on-campus or off-campus?

Both! If you work on-campus, you will work for Kent State. If you work off campus, Kent State will still employ you, but your work site will be a private nonprofit organization or a public agency, they will treat you like an employee, and you will perform work in the public interest.

How much can I make?

Current pay rates are roughly $10/hour, though they may vary depending on particular job responsibilities. As stated above, you cannot earn more than your award for the year, though if you work enough hours, you could earn your year’s award all in one semester—the higher your rate of pay and the more frequently you work, the quicker you might earn all of your funds for the year.

If you have any other questions, please call Community Engaged Learning or send an e-mail to  

Off-Campus Federal Work Study for Employers

How can my organization participate in the Off-Campus Federal Work Study program at Kent State as an employer?

The Kent State Community Engaged Learning (CEL) office reviews its Off-Campus Federal Work Study partners annually in the summer but is happy to collect expressions of interest and answer any questions anytime. Organizations interested in serving as an Off-Campus Federal Work Study site for Kent State can call Community Engaged Learning at (330) 672-7876 or e-mail at

The first step is for a Community Engaged Learning staff member to complete a site visit at your location in order to complete a needs assessment, discuss payment processes, communicate federal regulations, and answer any questions you may have about the Off-Campus Federal Work-Study program.

To prepare for this meeting, please note the following:

  • The Off-Campus FWS program involves a 75%/25% pay split; where the employer pays the students in full by maintaining time cards and records of student employment. After timecards are turned in according to the designated schedule, Kent State reimburses the organization 75% of the students’ earnings (the America Reads / America Counts Tutoring program reimburses the organization 100%).
  • The employer is responsible for the interviewing, hiring, and firing of the student employees, including all tax paperwork and other documents related to their employment at the organization.
  • The organization must provide documentation of non-profit status (examples include 501(c)(3) tax documentation) at the time of the site visit.
  • At the conclusion of our meeting, based on the needs and regulations assessment, the Community Engaged Learning staff member will review and sign the Off-Campus FWS agreement to keep on file with our office; this serves as the contract between the institution and the organization for the duration of the student’s employment for the academic year.

Do organizations need to do anything to continue serving as an Off-Campus Federal Work Study site for Kent State University in subsequent years?

Community Engaged Learning staff members perform additional site visits with each organization once a semester. Additionally, the organization must file a new Position Information Form and a job description with the CEL office every year for each position it hosts, and the organization and the university must endorse a new agreement each year. 

How are positions posted, and how do organizations receive applications?

After the organization submits all paperwork and the organization and university endorse the agreement, a Community Engaged Learning staff member will post each position to “Handshake,” the university’s job posting board. 

The CEL staff member will monitor the submission of applications, verify candidates’ FWS eligibility with the Kent State Student Financial Aid office, and forward all eligible applications to the organization. Once the organization receives these applications it is welcome to initiate its own interview process. When the process is complete, the organization informs CEL which student(s) it wishes to hire, the staff member works with the Student Financial Aid office to issue the FWS award, and once that’s complete, the organization is able to on-board the student as a new employee.  

How are organizations reimbursed, and how quickly does it happen?

At the end of each pay cycle, the organization submits documentation of each student employee’s work hours, including a completed work study voucher (which Community Engaged Learning provides upon becoming an Off-Campus FWS site), paycheck stubs, and timesheets. CEL then submits the documentation to the university. After a week or two, the organization will receive a check for 75% of the students’ earnings for that pay period.


Where can I find information on other paid learning experiences offered at Kent State?

Be sure to visit Kent State’s Career Exploration and Development website to learn more about employment, internships, co-ops, and other paid learning experiences.