• Frequently Asked Questions


  • What is Federal Work-Study?

    Federal Work-Study (FWS) is part of a financial aid award, generated from the submission of the Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). FWS is an employment program, and you earn the money awarded to you by working in positions at either on-campus or approved off-campus locations.

    As a FWS employee, you receive a monthly paycheck for the hours worked. Your wages are paid from your FWS award.

    How do I get a FWS award?

    You should complete your FAFSA as soon as possible. Your eligibility for financial aid is determined through “need analysis,” a process performed by the Department of Education and the MHCC Office of Financial Aid (OFA). Once you are notified of your financial aid award, you are invited to email studentemployment@mhcc.edu to verify your FWS eligibility. Please follow through to be awarded FWS for the academic year.

    How do I stay eligible for FWS?

    FWS students must maintain Satisfactory Academic Progress throughout the year to continue earning FWS. You can click HERE to read this policy. Your FWS employment may be canceled if you fail to complete the number of credits you have agreed to complete. In addition, to continue earning your FWS award every academic year, you must reapply for financial aid every year. Each financial aid application covers Summer through Spring terms.

    Finally, you must be enrolled in at least six credits to remain eligible for FWS.

    How do I get a FWS job?

    First, you complete the online Student Employment Orientation. As you read the information presented, you will learn what you need to know about student employment at MHCC. Links to forms at the end of the presentation must be printed out and completed in blue or black ink. Once your forms are done, bring the paperwork to the lobby of Student Services to have your ID checked for employment eligibility.

    Once you are emailed your Hiring Authorization with the bottom of the form complete, check the current JobLists. Contact a listed supervisor and make an appointment for a job interview. If you feel that you, the job, and the supervisor are a good match, you may begin working ONLY if all of the employment paperwork has been completed.

    MHCC has two types of student employment: Federal Work-Study (FWS) and Student Aide (SA). Students may work as both SA and FWS in special circumstances. Contact the Student Employment Coordinator for more information studentemployment@mhcc.edu.

    What jobs are available?

    FWS and SAs perform a variety of jobs including cashier, office clerk, computer lab assistant, program assistant, tutor, childcare provider, automotive shop assistant, science lab aide, delivery, physical education activities assistant, lifeguard, wildlife aide, fish hatchery aide, custodial helper, accounting, and instructional aide. MHCC departments or off-campus work sites may develop other jobs as needed.

    Community Service Jobs

    MHCC works with local, nonprofit agencies, on-campus departments, and local literacy groups and elementary schools to provide community service opportunities to MHCC student employees. Some of these agencies include the City of Portland, David Douglas School District, Reynolds School District, Gresham Barlow School District, and many more.

    If you are interested in working in a community service position, the employment process is the same.

    What about an off-campus job?

    MHCC students may work at off-campus sites as FWS and SAs only if those job sites have a contract to hire students from MHCC. Some students may concurrently enroll in a related Cooperative Education or Internship class.

    If you wish to work off campus, you must complete the online Student Employment Orientation before beginning your work assignment. All completed paperwork must be returned to the lobby of Student Services before you start work at the off-campus site.

    When can I start work?

    Before you can begin to work, both you and your supervisor must complete and sign a Hiring Authorization form and return it to the lobby of Student Services. Once the paperwork is turned in, you may begin working.

    What about pay?

    Pay rates are based on experience within the work field or department and/or job skill level requirements. FWS and SA employees receive the same pay for the same job or skill level. Increases in pay are based on experience within the area and the value of that experience to the job itself. Pay increases may be requested based on your existing skills and job performance.

    Student timesheets are due on the last working day of each month. Student pay dates fall on or near the 15th of each month.

    What kind of shifts will I work?

    You can work any shift when the employing department is open; however, overtime is not allowed. You cannot work more than eight hours per day. You may not work during scheduled class times. The average FWS employee works from 4 to 12 hours a week.

    Your FWS earnings are limited to the amount of your FWS award for each term. This is figured on gross earnings.

    Why should I accept FWS funds?

    Working as a student on campus has many advantages. You can gain valuable experience related to your major, and since you do not have to travel to a distant job site, you save time and money on travel expenses. On-campus jobs also offer flexible work schedules with supervisors who understand how student schedules fluctuate quarter by quarter.

    Will I have time to work and go to school?

    Your work schedule will be flexible and, of course, will depend on your class schedule. Supervisors will try to accommodate your class and study needs.

    Is FWS taxable?

    Yes, but you may claim "Exempt" on your W2 if you qualify.

    Do I have to earn all of my FWS each term?

    No. You may earn less, but you may not earn more.

    Can I study on the job?

    No. This is a job, not a paid study hall. Ask your supervisor before studying on the job.

    Does FWS make me eligible for food stamps?

    In some circumstances, food stamps may be available for students who are FWS eligible. If you need food stamps, contact the Department of Human Services to determine your eligibility.