By Petra Stark —

Federal Work Study students on campus are set to get a pay raise to at least $10 per hour.

When asked what led to the decision, Angela Black, Executive Director of the U of L’s Financial Aid Office, cited three major reasons: ethics, alleviating financial burden, and incentivizing new applicants. 

“It is the right thing to do,” Black said. “Increasing the Federal Work Study wage for students making less than $10 per hour will reduce their financial stress and possibly allow more students to consider on-campus employment which we know can be a factor in student success.”

The FWS program at the University of Louisville currently employs 150 students, but this number typically grows as departments fill positions as the year goes on.

While positions were limited last year due to remote operations during the pandemic, the number of positions this year is expected to reach the same peak of around 350-400 students seen previously.

In years past, the program did see a drop in students utilizing the work-study program because of better pay at other locations, but the university hopes this change will make the FWS program more appealing to students who may have previously overlooked it.

Some students had concerns that the pay increase may come with a catch, but Black confirmed students should not expect to work fewer hours because of the new minimum wage, and their hours would be consistent with what they are used to. 

Additionally, the eligibility structure for the  program will not change. All students currently eligible for the program will stay that way. In fact, U of L expects to see a rise in the number of positions filled through the program once the pay increase takes effect.

The wage increases carry other benefits for these students in the form of better networking opportunities within the campus community. “On-campus employment serves as an avenue to strengthen student connections with campus and expands opportunities for mentorship and support,” Black said. 

“Additionally, for financial aid purposes, it benefits FWS-eligible students to earn wages through a FWS position as opposed to off-campus employment because FWS income isn’t treated the same when reported on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in subsequent years.”

U of L said students currently in the FWS program will not need to do anything extra to start earning the new wages, which  take effect Oct. 10. FWS-eligible students who are interested can find work-study positions on Handshake, or contact the Financial Aid Office for more information.

Graphic by Eli Hughes//The Louisville Cardinal