The Work Study Office have updated the hiring process since 2020. Eligible work study students are no longer receiving a Work Study Award Verification Form –  instead, they receive an email from the Work Study Office confirming their eligibility. Employers are required to complete the Work Study Hiring Form before a students starts working. Please see Hiring A Work Study Student for more details. 

Program overview

Off-Campus Work Study, offered through the federal and state Work Study programs, provides bright, talented students with meaningful employment opportunities while reimbursing employers for part of the student’s wages. Under this program, off-campus employers pay the full wage to the student, and is later reimbursed 40-75 percent of the gross wages. This program allows qualifying organizations the opportunity to employ undergraduate and graduate students at reduced costs, thereby providing eligible students with an income to help meet their educational costs, reinforce their educational and career goals, and provide a service to the community. Work Study students present employers a pool of diverse, talented and enthusiastic workers.

“Without State Work Study,
our business would not have
made nearly the progress, or
been able to sustain the level
of growth, especially in this
difficult economic environment.”
-WSAC Program Brief

A successful Work Study experience should provide the student the opportunity for:

  • Relevant, current career-related work experience
  • Direct exposure and contact with employees in similar positions
  • Exercising knowledge and skills gained from the classroom while acquiring on-the-job training
  • Enough flexibility to allow for curriculum-driven time conflicts

Job descriptions

Off-campus employers interested in participating in the Work Study Program will be required to submit a Job Description Form to the Work Study Office at the University.

Students will be able to view your job descriptions on our website or in the Work Study office. Therefore, the job description is very important, as it is the first contact potential student employees have with the employer. It is up to you to state the requirements and duties of the job clearly, to describe the educational benefits the student can expect to gain from this work experience, and to make the job as interesting as possible in order to attract applicants.

“Many of the students we’ve
helped train over the years
have been hired as full-time
employees after graduation.
SWS is a win-win for both
employers and students.”
-WSAC Program Brief
  • Be sure your job description is accurate and thorough, as it will be made available to eligible students.
  • Employers are required to list the possible educational benefits to be derived by the student and positions should reinforce the student’s educational or career goals. Positions in which duties are primarily clerical, retail sales, or general labor are not accepted.
  • Employment of students cannot displace regular full-time staff positions, fill vacancies due to a labor dispute or impair existing contracts for service.
  • Work Study students may not fill positions that have been occupied by regular employees during the current or prior year, or which are currently or were formerly occupied by Washington Personnel Resources Board classified employees.
  • The position must be non-sectarian and non-political.
  • Job qualifications should include only skills and experience related to job duties. Employment of students must comply with the University of Washington Non-Discrimination Policy. Job descriptions that do not comply with Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines will not be approved.
  • Students must be paid on an hourly basis. Wages paid on a salaried or a contract-basis are not eligible for reimbursement. The pay rate must be at least equal to the entry-level rate for non-student employment positions within the employing organization.
  • Work Study positions during the academic year are part-time, a maximum of 19.5 hours per week.

Hiring a work study student

Students may begin applying for Work Study positions in mid-September. Work Study is a self-referral process, by which the student is responsible for securing his or her own job. Eligible students will contact the employer directly for an interview. Student applicants will provide a Work Study Award Verification Form signed by a Work Study Office representative verifying the student’s eligibility. The Work Study Award Verification Form indicates the amount and duration of the student’s Work Study award as well as the terms and conditions of the award. When you have hired a student, complete the employer section of the Work Study Award Verification Form and return it to our office. Be sure to indicate the job number on the Work Study Award Verification Form so our office will know for which position the student has been hired.

During the interview, the student should be informed of the kinds of work required by the position and the expectations of the employer. The employer should be informed of the student’s ability, interest, and expectations about the position. Employers are encouraged to conduct a student employee performance evaluation. An evaluation is an excellent communication tool and a valuable learning experience.

Non-residents of Washington State can only be awarded Federal Work Study.
Any work non-residents perform must be with employers participating in the Federal Community Service Work Study program in order for their earnings to be reimbursed.

Employer reimbursement for wages paid

Under the Off-Campus Program, the employing organization will initially pay 100% of the student’s wages. The employer then completes a UW Off-Campus Time Sheet (pdf). After completing the time sheet online, print it and submit it with the required signatures to the Work Study Office to request reimbursement. Wages paid in accordance with Work Study guidelines are eligible for reimbursement of 40-75 percent of gross wages. Students must be paid for all hours worked on an hourly basis. Reimbursement will not be made for hours paid on a contract or salary basis.

Work Study awards are made on an academic year basis, and employers are encouraged to schedule the student’s work hours so that the funds will be earned over the entire period of the award.

Employers are responsible for monitoring the student’s work hours so that the total gross earnings do not exceed the amount of the student’s award. Employers will not be reimbursed for earnings that exceed the award or otherwise do not qualify for Work Study reimbursement. The Office of Student Financial Aid periodically reviews each student’s continued eligibility for Work Study. Employers will be notified of any student hired whose eligibility is canceled, and any wages earned after notification will not be reimbursed. Time sheets for the academic year will not be accepted for reimbursement after June 30.

Time sheets

A separate time sheet must be submitted for each work study employee. When completing the time sheet, please enter all information legibly.

  • Indicate beginning and ending pay period dates. The time sheet can be used to report hours for one calendar month or two pay periods.
  • Enter in complete employer information. If the employer address has changed, notify the Work Study Office.
  • The student’s social security number is not required, but does serve as a unique identifier for the student.
  • Record actual hours worked. Fill in the hour and minutes for the appropriate day in the pay period. Minutes should be expressed in decimal form (e.g. 45 minutes = .75 hours).
  • If a pay period crosses two months, clearly indicate which month the hours belong to.
  • Do not report hours for sick, vacation or holiday leave unless the student actually worked. If students work on a holiday, they may be paid a holiday rate, however reimbursement will be based on a regular rate of pay.
  • Provide total hours, hourly pay rate, gross earnings (total hours multiplied by hourly pay rate), deductions, net pay, and check number.
  • Gross Earnings should be the gross amount paid to the student, including regular, overtime pay, and paid leave. Reimbursement will be based on eligible earnings.
  • Both the student employee and the supervisor must sign and date the time sheet on or after the last day hours have been worked. No one may sign on the student’s behalf, not may any documentation replace the correct signature and date. All signatures must be in ink.

Summer work study program

Summer Work Study allows eligible students to earn income to help meet their educational expenses for the upcoming academic year. Generally, the Summer Work Study program provides full-time employment to qualified students who are not enrolled for the summer quarter. Employers who can offer full-time positions during the entire summer Work Study period (see below) are encouraged to participate. If you are unable to offer full-time hours and may be interested in hiring a student who is attending summer session, a part-time position may be submitted (for a maximum of 19.5 hours per week during summer school).

Employers interested in participating should complete the enclosed Job Description Form and direct it to our office. The sooner we receive the job description, the better chance students will contact you. The Work Study Office will list approved Summer job descriptions beginning mid June. Eligible students will contact you directly regarding your position.

The Summer Work Study program begins July 1st and ends the day before the start of the Fall Quarter.

Off-campus work study programs

For profit and other organizations

Employers interested in participating in the State Work Study Program will be required to submit a job description and a signed Washington Student Achievement Council (WSAC) Employer Contract. The signed contract should be sent directly to the WSAC, or may be returned to the Work Study Office at the address above.

Upon approval, an email with a copy of the job description will be returned to you with a job number assigned and the reimbursement rate indicated. You will receive a separate approval from WSAC regarding your Employer Contract. Please Note: The Washington Student Achievement Council should have sent continuing employers a Contract Renewal for the current academic year. If you did not receive one, please contact them at (360) 753-7861.

Additional information is available on the WSAC State Work Study website.

Community service organizations

Non-profit entities that provide health, education, public safety, disability support, welfare or social services that have already been approved for non-profit community service reimbursement by WSAC may also qualify to participate in the Federal Community Service Work Study Program.

If interested in participating in the Federal Community Service Work Study program, in addition to submitting a job description you should contact the University of Washington Work Study Office to obtain a Federal Work Study contract.

So long as you have continuously participated in the Federal Work Study program during the prior year, a new contract does not need to be completed. However, if you did not participate in the Federal Work Study program during the last academic year, you will need to contact the Work Study Office to renew your federal contract.