Many undergraduate students have an academic year work component as part of their financial aid package, referred to as Federal Work-Study or Campus Employment. Confusion sometimes exists about exactly what this means.  

The basics:

  • A Work-Study or Campus Employment award is a work opportunity – not an obligation.
  • Students apply for jobs based on their interests, skills and schedule – students are not assigned to jobs. Visit the Student Employment section of the University Human Resources website for full details
  • Students receive a paycheck for work – funds are not credited to the bill.
  • The amount of the award is an estimate and is based on a student working 8-10 hours per week to earn funds to cover non-billed educational and miscellaneous expenses.
  • Students are able to earn more or less than the award amount. In addition, there is no penalty if a student opts not to work.    
  • A work-study or campus employment award is not required to work on-campus.  Both aided and non-aided undergraduate students are eligible to work.

COVID19 Update - Information for 2020-2021:

Please see the Office of  Financial Aid 2020-2021 FAQs for additional information regarding student student employment for the current academic year.  

Looking for more detail?

The Federal Work-Study Program was established by the Higher Education Act of 1965. The intent is to encourage and promote the employment of students in order to help them meet their educational costs. Eligibility for Federal Work-Study (FWS) is determined from the information students provide on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Brown University receives an annual allocation of FWS funds from the U.S. Department of Education. These funds are used to help subsidize the wages of students with a Federal Work-Study award. Therefore, the wages earned by students who have a Federal Work-Study award are paid by a combination of federal funds and University funds. Students with Campus Employment in their financial aid award are paid entirely with University funds.

Brown University awards a work component to eligible students as part of their financial aid package. Students are not required to work or to earn the full amount of their work award. Instead, the work award provides a student the opportunity to work and earn funds that they can use towards their daily expenses. It is not expected that these earned funds will be paid back to Brown to cover tuition, fees or other billed educational fees.  Students who are able to cover their personal and book expenses by other means, and therefore do not earn any or all of their employment opportunity, are not penalized in any way. Federal Work-Study or Campus Employment is a work opportunity—not a requirement.

The Federal Work-Study or Campus Employment portion of the award will not appear as a credit on the billing statement from the University. These funds are paid directly to working students.  While eligible students receive an award up to $2,950, the actual amount of money each student will earn depends on the number of hours worked each week and the wage rate paid by the employer. Students who work receive a bi-weekly paycheck from the Brown Payroll Office.

Brown University employs students in various administrative and academic departments.   University Human Resources oversees and manages student employment.  Please visit their website for information on student work rules and guidelines, as well as information on applying for a job and getting paid.   

The current minimum hourly wage rate paid to students is $11.50/hour. This increased from $10.60 as of October 1, 2020. Since pay rates vary depending on the type of job and skills required, many students earn hourly rates that are higher than the minimum.  Having a job on-campus should not adversely affect academic or personal activities. The recommendation is that students work no more than 8 to 12 hours a week.  

Questions or concerns?

If you have any questions or concerns specific to your Federal Work-Study or Campus Employment award, or other components of your financial aid award, please email us at [email protected] or call 401-863-2721.   

All other Student Employment inquires may be directed to University Human Resources at [email protected] or 401-863-9922.