Community Work-Study

Overview of the Community Work-Study Program

The Community Work-Study (CWS) Program engages community partners and students in meaningful work experiences that not only help partners reach their organizational goals but also help students learn and develop through community-based, real-world experiences. Approved nonprofit and government agencies can hire students and only pay 25% of their wages.

If you are interested in becoming an approved CWS agency, or if you have questions about the program, please email

Frequently asked questions

The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program provides an opportunity for part-time employment for students with financial need, allowing students to earn money to help pay for educational expenses. The program encourages community service and work related to students’ programs of study. FWS positions can be on campus or off campus at approved nonprofit and government agencies.

The Community Work-Study (CWS) Program provides opportunities for students to earn their Federal Work-Study Program awards by working in approved nonprofit or government agencies. The goal of CWS is to meet the staffing needs of the agencies while providing students with opportunities that include both satisfactory pay and educationally meaningful experiences without displacing or replacing employees in existing staff positions.

As a government or nonprofit agency, you may be considered for eligibility as a Community Work-Study Program employer. Several documents must be completed, signed, and submitted for review by Indiana University’s compliance officer. Should your agency be eligible to seek approval, completion of the review takes approximately two to three weeks after receiving required documentation from the agency. For more information email

If your organization is approved as a Community Work-Study Program employer, your organization will be assigned an Indiana University account number. You will also receive a letter and information (via email) from the IUPUI Office of Student Employment regarding your account number, recruitment, and hiring work-study-eligible students.

Community Work-Study Program employers are responsible for 25% of the student’s wages; the remaining 75% portion will be paid with federal funds. Each time you hire a student, you will receive an invoice via email from Indiana University for 25% of the student's Federal Work-Study Program award limit. Student work-study award limits vary and will be stated on their Federal Work-Study Program authorization form, which the student will receive electronically. For example, if a student’s work-study award limit is $3,000, you will be invoiced $750; the payment will go into your Indiana University account. Each time a student is paid, a withdrawal will be made from your Indiana University account to cover your portion of the student’s wages for that pay period. Any unused amount in your account will be refunded upon request or will remain as a credit in your account.

Hourly pay rates are determined by the Community Work-Study Program agency. Per federal and Indiana University regulations, students must receive at least $10.15 per hour. Pay must be commensurate with that of other employees who are doing the same work, but do not have work-study awards. A pay rate should always be determined by the value of the job, not by the size of the work-study award. Please contact if you want to discuss pay rate further.

Students may earn as much of their work-study award amount as specified on the Federal Work-Study Program authorization form. Gross pay is used in calculating how much the student has earned. For example, if a student has an award of $3,000 and has a pay rate of $10.15 per hour, the student may work a total of 295 hours over the course of the Federal Work-Study Program eligibility period to earn his or her entire work-study award. If a student earns in excess of his or her work-study award amount, the CWS employer will be responsible for 100% of the student’s wages beyond the award amount, and the student will be immediately terminated from the CWS position.

Students record hours worked by logging into IU’s online Kuali Time System via a computer or other internet-enabled device at your agency. You, as the employer, will also go online and approve each student’s time sheet at the end of a pay period. Paychecks are issued by the IUPUI payroll office. If the student has not signed up for direct deposit, the student will receive a university-issued Visa debit card, and the paycheck will be deposited onto that card. Once your agency is approved, you will receive a tutorial on the Kuali Time system.

Yes! As a community work-study (CWS) supervisor, you have opportunities that are available to you. Specifically, our supervisor training, called Jaguar Series, workshops and webinars, and events such as our Supervisor Summit and Part-Time Job Fair are all opportunities available to you as a CWS supervisor. Follow the links below to whatever interests you!
Supervisor trainings
Webinars and workshops
Supervisor Summit
Part-Time Job Fair