Student Employment (Work Study)

Work study is a need-based financial aid award.

What is Work Study?

Work study is similar to other regular part-time student jobs on campus. About 30% of jobs on campus require that you have a Work Study award. You work to earn money, it's not a loan, so you don't have to repay it, and you receive a lovely paycheck twice a month!

How Do I Get and Apply for Work Study?

The first step is to apply for Financial Aid through the FAFSA

The first step is to apply for Financial Aid through the Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA) beginning October 1 each year and make sure you indicate interest in Work Study on your application.

Submitting a FAFSA by the priority filing date of February 1 is needed and must demonstrate financial need as determined by the federal government.

Demand is high for Work Study and often there are more students who qualify than there are funds available. As a result, not everyone who is eligible will receive an award.

If you have already been awarded Work Study, you can search for jobs on Handshake.
Students are normally awarded around $3,000.00 - $4,050.00 in gross wages for the academic school year. For an award of $3,000.00 and wages of $15.74 per hour, you would have about 190 hours to work during the school year, averaging approximately 10 hours of work a week.

Work Study jobs can start as early as September 16 each year, with most positions beginning in late September. Work study is not offered during the summer months. 

Why Does Work Study Average 10 Hours a Week?

Analysis of data from the "Beginning Postsecondary Students Longitudinal Study" states:

  • Nearly two-thirds (65.9%) of those who do not work their first year graduate with a Bachelor's degree. But students who work up to 12 hours a week are even more likely to graduate, with nearly three-quarters (73.3%) of students who work 1-12 hours a week graduate with a Bachelor's degree.
  • Only students who work more than 12 hours a week are less likely to graduate: less than half (47.7%) of those who work 13-40 hours a week and less than a third (29.6%) of those who work more than 40 hours a week graduate.
  • Among students who work 1-12 hours a week, working fewer hours increases graduation rates. 76.2% of students who work 1-6 hours a week graduate with a Bachelor’s degree, compared with 71.5% of students who work 7-12 hours a week.

How Do Off-Campus Employers Hire a Work Study Student?

The dollar amount of a work-study award represents the gross amount that a student can earn and includes both the employer share and work study share of earnings. Once the work study award is exhausted, the employer will be responsible for paying 100% of earned wages if the student continues to work.

If a work study student is fired or let go by an off-campus organization/employer, they are ineligible to return to work study there within the academic year.

Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC)

State Work Study (SWS) Employer Letter (doc)
SWS Employer Contract and Profile (pdf)

Employer Job Description (pdf)
State Work Study (SWS) Employer Handbook (pdf)

Calculating Spreadsheet to Track Work Study Earnings (xls)

Off-Campus Work Study Options

Math and reading tutors, community service and more

Math and reading tutor Work Study jobs

Work Study students can use their award to get jobs as reading tutors in local elementary schools and as math tutors in local middle schools. Tutoring positions are posted on Handshake each academic year. If you don't see any currently listed, contact the Office of Financial Aid.

Community service Work Study with the Center for Community-Based Learning and Action

The Center has developed strong relationships with local community grassroots organizations. Visit their office or the Center's website to find out more about their community service work study jobs.

Work Study students can also work with community literacy programs, state agencies, private employers and non-profit organizations

If there is an off-campus employer that a Washington state resident work study student  wants to work with but does not see a posting on Handshake for it, the student should let Financial Aid staff know. It is possible that they can make the opportunity happen!

Student Employment


Office Hours