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Work-study & Jobs

In addition to loans and scholarships, some students defray the cost of law school with work opportunities. Students can take part in Federal Work-Study, community service employment, or Student Work Opportunity.

Federal Work-Study (FWS)

Federal work-study is available to eligible students. If a student accepts federal work-study, they can earn money by working in a Federal Work-Study position to help with their educational expenses. 

  • Second- and third-year students can work up to hours 20 per week during regular full-time enrollment.
  • FWS is only offered to first-year students who show exceptional need. If approved, a first-year student is limited to five work hours a week. First-year part-time students are not subject to these work limitations and can work up to 40 hours per week.  
  • FWS employees are paid twice per month.

Federal Work-Study During Summer Break

Federal work-study is offered to continuing students on a limited basis. Students who want to take part in the Federal Work-Study program during the summer break must submit required documents to the Financial Aid office. You must submit the documents by the summer deadlines and intend to enroll in the fall trimester.  Required documents include:

  • A completed California Western Financial Aid Application (for Fall/Spring).
  • A completed Summer Break Federal Work-Study Application.
  • A completed FAFSA for both the current and subsequent award years (e.g., for Summer 2024, that means 2023-24 and 2024-25).

If students don’t submit these required documents by the deadline, they will be put on the waitlist. Due to limited FWS funds, those who miss the deadline likely will not receive consideration for the program.

The FWS award, though used during a period of non-enrollment, is considered part of the student's financial aid award package for the following session (e.g., Fall/Spring). Summer Break FWS funds are considered part of a student’s overall financial aid award package for the following session (e.g., Fall/Spring). This means a student's eligibility for other aid will likely be reduced due to the receipt of Summer Break FWS funds.

The initial award letters for students with Summer Break FWS awards will only reflect their FWS award. Fall and spring aid such as Stafford, Perkins, and alternative loans, will appear on separate award letters during fall/spring processing.

Read through the Summer Break Federal Work-Study Application for more information.

Community Service Employment (CSE)

Some off-campus employers participate in California Western's Federal Work-Study program. These non-profit organizations are required to pay 25% of the student's wages and provide students real-world experience in a mission-driven setting.

California Western also offers the Community Service Employment Fund (CSE), from which the school pays the 25% share on behalf of select agencies located in San Diego County that would otherwise not be able to employ students.

To participate, students must have the following:

  • A Federal Work-Study award.
  • Applied for and been approved for CSE funding by the student's chosen employer.

Applications for the CSE program must be submitted by the end of the first week of each trimester. If there are still funds available following the deadlines, awards will be granted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Since awards are not determined until the end of the first week of each trimester, students with pending applications cannot work during that week.

Students can apply for Summer Break CSE employment at the same time and on the same form as Summer Break Federal Work-Study.

For further information, contact the Financial Aid Office.

Before beginning paid work under FWS or CSE, a student must submit:

  • A completed Work Authorization Form, signed by the student, Financial Aid Office staff, the supervisor, and an authorized representative of the employer;
  • All CWSL Human Reosurces documents including, W-4 and I-9 forms; and
  • All documents required for the student's financial aid file.

Student Work Opportunity (SWO)

Student Work Opportunity allows students to work as a research assistant to a professor. SWO enables students who may not qualify for Federal Work Study to earn paid employment. To qualify, a student must first apply for Federal Work Study. If they are denied, the employing professor can request Federal Work-Study on behalf of the student.

Note: Since the Financial Aid Office does not administer Student Work Opportunity, it does not count as a form of student financial aid. 

Students wishing to take part in an SWO should contact the professor offering employment or the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.