Work-Study FAQ

What is Work-Study?

The Federal Work-Study program is a need-based program of financial aid providing students an opportunity to work part-time in an approved on-campus or off-campus job. (For America Reads tutoring and other community service jobs, see below.)

How do I apply for Work-Study?

All students must complete the FAFSA and have demonstrated exceptional financial need. You must be a US citizen or eligible non-citizen (in general this means a permenent resident). You must be admitted to a degree program, enrolled at least half-time (six credit hours per term for undergraduates or three credit hours for graduate students), and be making satisfactory academic progress.

To obtain work-study in the coming year, continuing work-study students need to earn $1000 if their award is $1500 or earn $500 if their award is $750.

How do I find a job?

Students with a work-study award may look for jobs on the work-study website beginning August 13. You may select several jobs and contact the employers to set up an interview. At the interview, you will print a copy of your awards from MyPack Portal to confirm for your employer that you have a work-study award. You will be allowed a three-week period from the date of your award or the beginning of the semester, whichever is later, to find a job. After this date, your work-study award is subject to cancellation.

How will I be paid?

If hired, you must complete the I-9 hiring form, the state tax withholding form, and the federal tax withholding form. For the I-9 form, your employer will need to see your driver’s license and Social Security card or other qualifying documents.

You will be paid every two weeks for the hours worked in the prior two-week pay period. Federal work-study funds are not applied to your account in the Cashier’s Office. Rather, you are paid directly through direct deposit or a paper check.

How much can I earn?

Your award letter lists the maximum amount you are allowed to earn in a work-study job. You cannot work over your award amount for a semester or the year. If you do not earn your entire fall amount, it can be carried over to spring term, as long you remain eligible to work. Jobs have variable pay rates. Most employers pay higher than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour.

Most students can earn their award amount by working 5-7 hours per week if they begin working in August. The typical award is $1500 per year. If you receive a new scholarship or grant, your work-study award may have to be reduced or canceled. You should review carefully any revised award notice sent to you (via email to your campus email address) to see if your work-study award amount has changed. You should immediately report any reduction in your work-study award amount to your employer.

Your employer will help you create a work schedule that does not conflict with your class schedule. You cannot begin work before the first day of a term or continue beyond the last day of the exam period. Your employer will establish with you procedures for dealing with any change to your work schedule (for tardiness, absences, inclement weather, etc.). You can be paid only for actual hours worked. You should limit your hours to no more than 20 hours per week. Remember that academics are your first priority.

How do I apply for a Community Service job?

If you want to apply for one of the community service jobs listed on the website, you still need to contact the employer and ask for an interview. If hired, you need to go to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid and take your driver’s license and Social Security card to complete the I-9 hiring form. You will be paid by the OSFA rather than the community service agency. You and your employer will complete your time sheet, and your employer will fax it to the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid every two weeks. To encourage participation, all community service jobs pay $12 per hour.

Can I change jobs during the year?

You are encouraged to remain in your position for one academic year. As with any job, periods of short employment may raise questions for a future employer. And, your work-study job is an opportunity to establish a good work record for your resume, along with a favorable letter of reference. If you are experiencing any difficulties in your work situation, you are encouraged to discuss your concerns with your employer. If you decide to quit your job, you should give your employer at least one week’s notice of resignation.

If you have conflicts that cannot be resolved to your satisfaction after working with your supervisor, you may contact the Work-Study Coordinator in the OSFA and the Office of Legal Affairs.

Since it is called work-study, does that mean I can study on the job?

No. Federal Work-study jobs are not any different from other jobs. You will have a job description and defined tasks to perform. Work-study means you are working to pay for the opportunity to study and obtain an education. It is a real job.

Should I notify the Office of Scholarships and Financial Aid if I decide to decline my work-study award?

Yes. Call or write the office if you decide not to work so the funds can be given to another eligible student who wants to participate.