Using Your Federal Work-Study Award

Students who have been approved for federal financial aid may be awarded a Federal Work-Study amount. To use this amount, students can find an approved Federal Work-Study job, which means the employer will receive money from the government to support paying the student for their work. 

You are not required to use a Federal Work-Study award if you receive one, nor are you required to find a Federal Work-Study job if you would like to work during the academic year. Students are free to select a student job of their choice. However, students may find that Federal Work-Study appeals to some types of campus employers and they may prefer to hire applicants who have Federal Work-Study awards. 

If you would like to use a Federal Work-Study award, follow the steps below to get started.

Visit the Student Financial Aid platform NetPartner before the academic year begins to review your financial aid award amount. After logging in, select Financial Aid and then Federal Work-Study

  • Please note, some schools at Columbia do not use NetPartner. If your school does not use NetPartner, utilize your school's preferred financial aid platform to review your award offer.

If you do not have a Federal Work-Study award listed in your federal student aid account at, you are not eligible for a Federal Work-Study job for the calendar year. If you believe that information is an error, you must contact your financial aid office for more information.

Find a job using the Federal Work-Study online system. You can scroll through all available jobs, or use filtering functions to search for a specific type of job. Sign up for JobMail to receive emails when new jobs are posted matching your criteria.

Once you find a position that matches your goals, follow the system instructions to apply for the position. Be prepared with a resume, a list of previous work experience, reference contact information, and other standard employment information that may be expected. Note: You must answer all required questions or the system will not accept your application. You also will not have a chance to review the application once you submit it, so confirm that the information is correct before submitting.

If you plan to acquire a job at the start of the academic year, it is important to prioritize your search and begin applying for positions as soon as you arrive on campus, if not before. The process takes some time and you do not want to lose out on potential positions by waiting too long to look.

After you apply for jobs, you will be contacted by any jobs that are interested in hiring you. You may be expected to interview in-person at the location or over Zoom. Be prepared to discuss expected availability, previous experience, and your interest in the job and your related goals. 

After you have been offered a position, new students must complete required forms.

No forms are required for continuing students who have been hired in a previous year unless three full years have passed since the prior employment ended, or if you wish to edit personal or tax information.

However, you must apply every year for the FAFSA in order to continue receiving a Federal Work-Study award. This is tremendously important if you wish to continue a job that is only available to Federal Work-Study students.

You will receive notification from the Federal Work-Study Office once your new job has been approved. You may begin communicating with your new employer to schedule a work start date.

Students are expected to complete timesheets in the Federal Work-Study online system where they originally applied for their job. Please see our guide to submitting student timesheets for more information about that procedure, including deadlines, approvals, and steps to follow.

Students receive a paycheck based on the timesheet submitted for each pay period worked. Columbia University offers students the convenience of directly depositing paychecks into an employee's bank account. You should review the directions for direct deposits for signup information.

If a student does not sign up for direct deposit, their paycheck will be mailed to the active mailing address on file with the university Human Resources Office, which is available to edit in People at Columbia (PAC) via If students change housing during the school year, they must edit their address or risk losing access to a paycheck sent to the wrong address. This is why we encourage students to avoid mailing obstacles and sign up for direct deposit.