Work-study FAQ’s

What is work-study?

Work-study is an employment opportunity program (Federal and State) for students who have demonstrated financial need. Unlike other financial aid awards, work-study is paid to students in the form of a paycheck for hours worked.

Work-study is real, on-the-job training and is a way to obtain important pre-graduation work experience. Expect to treat your work-study job as a professional position—it’s a great opportunity to develop skills, network in your field, and build a solid reference for future employment. Work-studies are vital to the University’s daily operations and are a valued part of our workforce.

**It’s important to note that a work-study award is a potential to earn funds and not a guarantee that you will earn the entire amount awarded.**

Students must accept the award, find a job and work hours to earn the award.

How can I be considered for work-study?

To be considered for work-study, you should answer “yes” to the work-study question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. Work-study is a need-based program, so not all students qualify. If you qualify and funds are available, you will receive work-study on your award.  If you are not initially awarded or did not answer “yes” to work-study on the FAFSA, you may contact our office to be placed on the work-study waitlist. If on the waitlist, you’ll be notified if or when funds become available.

Once awarded, you may search for a position on our work-study database which opens June 1st. After you find a position and are hired, you will be paid twice per month based on the number of hours you work. You will be provided with a payroll deadline schedule.

What do I need to do to start working?

Students may not begin work until they receive an e-mail from Veteran Services and Financial Aid office indicating your start date.  This will happen in the following work-study process.

  1. Student is awarded work-study
  2. Student accepts work-study and is sent the Employment Eligibility Notice.  (This notice is what you are required to show supervisors to prove you have work-study funding.)
  3. Student applies/interviews for jobs
  4. A Department notifies our office of their intent to hire you
  5. Student receives an e-mail from our office indicating you have been hired and that you need to fill out the employment paperwork.
  6. Student submits the employment paperwork Veteran Services and Financial Aid
  7. Student receives an e-mail with your employment starting date
  8. Student starts working
  9. Supervisor submits electronic time-sheet to Veteran Services and Financial Aid. PAPER TIME SHEETS ARE NO LONGER ACCEPTED. It is the student’s responsibility to work with their supervisor to ensure time is reported every pay period by the deadline.
  10. Student receives a paycheck either via direct deposit or paper check depending on their responses with the employment paperwork.
  11. Student receives an e-mail after every payroll indicating how many hours left to work based on current award minus hours worked.

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Why don’t I qualify, or why was I given a reduced amount?

Since work-study is a need-based fund, it must fit within your Financial Aid budget. Scholarships, grants, and some student loan programs are also need-based so there may not be room for work-study without eliminating or reducing other awards. This depends on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), calculated on the information provided on your FAFSA. If you qualify for a reduced amount, you may still have work-study, but you will not be able to work as many hours or as long during the school year due to the reduced award.

This also applies to a student’s cost of attendance.  We may not award a student more funds than their cost to attend.  If you’ve been fully awarded (grants, scholarships, and loans) and you request work-study there will be a reduction that will take place on your account.  This normally takes form of reducing a loan or your least favorable aid.

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What if I wasn’t awarded work-study?

If you are not initially awarded, you may contact our office to be placed on the work-study waitlist. If on the waitlist, you’ll be notified if or when funds become available.

Note: Placement on this waiting list is not a guarantee that you will be awarded.

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If I am a salaried Teaching Assistant (TA) or Research Assistant (RA) can I also do work-study?

No.  You are not eligible to do work-study because it will interfere with your appointment with your current department.

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How do I find a job, and what kinds of jobs are available?

The best way to find open work-study positions is by visiting our job database webpage. If you have a question(s) or struggle to find a position please contact one of our staff to request assistance on job placement.

Work-study jobs can be both on-campus or off campus. Duties can range from answering the phone to developing web pages for the department or even working in a hospital environment, depending on individual department needs.

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What if I don’t find a job?

A work-study award does not guarantee that you will find a job—it only means that you qualify to work as a work-study. There are more eligible students than there are open positions—just like a real job, you will be competing with other qualified applicants for those positions.

If you are unable to secure a position, you may choose to decline your work-study and pursue other forms of financial aid. It is important to contact our office if you decide you want to decline work-study.

Unaccepted awards will be cancelled after 30 days.  Students who have accepted their award, but do not have a job after 60 days or by the 6th week of the term (whichever date is last), will have their award cancelled and reallocated to students on the wait list.

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How many hours a week do I work?

Work-study students may work a MAXIMUM of 20 hours per week.

There is NO minimum number of hours you have to work, but a department may set a minimum if they have specific needs.

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Is there a dress code?

In most offices, work-studies are asked to dress business-casual, though some offices allow jeans or walking shorts or your scrubs.  Please check with the office supervisor to find out each individual office’s preference for work-study dress. Remember, this is a professional setting, and even though work-studies are students, they must dress appropriately to their work setting.

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What if I quit my job before the end of the semester?

Any money already earned you will keep. If you choose, you may pursue a position at another department, and use any remaining funds from your award. The two jobs together cannot have a total of earnings beyond the amount you were awarded. For example, if you have an award of $2000 and you use $400 at Department A, you have $1600 left to work at Department B.


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