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SPIF utilizes a combination of Federal Work Study (FWS) and Summer Stipend funds as a mechanism to distribute funding based on eligibility guidelines. While a student’s eligibility is based on the amount of time they will spend in a placement, the funding is not considered to be wages and the amount provided is equal regardless of the source of funding. 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 funds may be disbursed to 1Ls and 2Ls but is not disbursed to SJDs.

* “on financial aid” is defined as being eligible for and receiving at least $20,500 in funding that is certified by the Student Financial Services office. The funding can include (but is not limited to) HLS grants, federal and/or private student loans, fellowships, and/or scholarships from outside sources. Federal Work Study, SPIF stipends or grants, and SPIF loans do not count towards the $20,500 threshold.

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 1 as long as the necessary paperwork is turned in to the SPIF office by March 29. Stipends can only be requested once a month, so if a student misses the deadline, funds will be disbursed on June 1, at the earliest.


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