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SPIF is distributed as either Federal Work Study (FWS) or a Summer Stipend. The SPIF Office will determine the type of funding you will receive based on both your and your employer’s eligibility. Students should proceed with the expectation that they could receive either type of funding.

Federal Work Study (FWS)

FWS is allocated by the University and is used to fund approximately one-third of the SPIF program. The federal government pays between 67% and 75% of the wages of FWS recipients and the SPIF program pays the remaining amount, also known as the “Employer Match.”


Students receiving FWS will receive a start-up grant and weekly paychecks over the course of the summer (subject to change as needed).


Students are eligible to receive FWS if they are an academic year financial aid recipient*, they are eligible for Federal Financial Aid resources, AND they are working for a FWS eligible employer. Students must also physically be located in the United States even if working remotely. FWS may be awarded to 1Ls and 2Ls but is not awarded to SJDs.

(* “on financial aid” is defined as being eligible for and receiving at least $20500 in the form of an Unsubsidized Stafford need-based loan certified by the Student Financial Services office, or the equivalent)

Eligible FWS employers include:

  • non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations within the US
  • most US government organizations (except the US Department of Education and positions working directly for a member of Congress); employment outside the US in a US government facility such as an embassy or military base is permissible

Ineligible FWS employers include:

  • overseas placements (even if non-profit)
  • partisan political positions
  • positions that lobby the government
  • religious organizations
  • for-profit law firms (including private public interest firms)



Stipends are disbursed as one payment, on May 1st as long as the necessary paperwork is turned in to the SPIF office by early April. Stipends can only be requested once a month, so if a student misses the April deadline, funds will be disbursed on June 1st, at the earliest.


All SPIF eligible students are eligible for Stipends, however, FWS will be awarded to all eligible students first. Once we have exhausted our FWS allocation we will begin to award stipends to students who would have otherwise received FWS. All SJDs will receive stipends.