Federal Work Study: A Program for Our Time

Date of Award

Summer 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Organizational Leadership (EdD)

Committee Chair

Niccole Hyatt

Committee Member

Valerie A. Storey

Committee Member

Lewis Chongwony


While Pell-grants and other financial aid offers the payment of college, students of low-income have little to no assistance for cost-of-living expenses. Frequently, students go without supplies, technology, and internet connections; they even live without the security of food and shelter. Students of low-income face barriers that leave them struggling through their educational development and completion of the educational program which directly impacts their future. Understanding the hurdles low-income students must overcome creates an opportunity to expand the Federal Work Study (FWS) program that support students' financial stability and develops their academic and social integration, while providing community colleges with the much-needed community connections, growing funding opportunities, and increasing graduation rates. Using correlational research design, the relationship between FWS spending and graduation rates of community colleges in Illinois are evaluated. The findings showed a statistically significant positive correlation between FWS spending and graduation rate. The study provides implications for community colleges implementing the FWS program and makes recommended changes to the program.