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

The Work Study program provides bright, talented students with meaningful employment opportunities while reimbursing employers for part of the student’s wages. Under this program, on-campus employers benefit from having 60% of the student’s wages paid through federal or state Work Study funds.

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

Posting a job

Do you have a job for a work study student?

“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
  • Complete the Job Description Form.
  • Clearly state the requirements and duties of the job.
  • Describe the educational benefits a student can expect to gain from the work experience.
  • Positions should reinforce the student’s educational or career goals.
  • 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.
  • Avoid references to an employee’s age, sex, national origin (more information on Equal Employment Opportunity requirements below). Job descriptions that do not comply with Equal Employment Opportunity guidelines will not be approved.
  • Students must be paid on an hourly basis.
  • Work Study positions during the academic year are part-time, maximum of 19.5 hours per week.
  • Job Descriptions need to be resubmitted and approved every school year the department wishes to hire work study students under.
  • Once the Job description has been approved, it will be assigned a new job referral number for the specific school year it’s been approved for. Employers are welcome to hire multiple students under the same job number.

Equal Employment Opportunity requirements

In completing your job description, avoid referring to personal characteristics such as age, sex, national origin, or terms that imply these characteristics. Examples:

Acceptable Descriptions Unacceptable Descriptions
Must have completed Chemistry 201 Junior or senior level
Able to answer busy phones, take messages, direct calls Good communication skills
Proofreading, editing, filing skills Good communication skills

Once the Work Study Office reviews and approves your job description, you will receive an email confirming the acceptance of your job and the job number.

Pay rates

The campus employer is responsible for establishing the pay rate for a Work Study position according to the current University of Washington UW Student Employee Compensation Guidelines published by Human Resources. (Exception: see Graduate Student Appointments) The Work Study Office reviews Work Study job descriptions for compliance. Requests for exceptions must be sent to Human Resources on a “Student Employee Exception to Pay and Classification Schedule” form. If approved, a copy of the approval must be sent to the Work Study Office with the Job Description Form.

Job Code Job Profile Overtime Eligible Min ($/hr) Max ($/hr) Usage
10875 Student Assistant
Calendar Year 2023
Yes $18.69 $75.00 General student employment performing a variety of support tasks (Seattle & Bothell campuses).
10888 Student Assistant, UWT
Calendar Year 2023
Yes $15.74 $75.00 General student employment performing a variety of support tasks (Tacoma campus).

Changing pay rates

Reasonable changes within the student employee pay classification do not require prior approval and can be changed in Workday.

Graduate student appointments

Graduate students awarded Work Study during the regular academic year may be appointed by their departments as: Work Study Teaching Fellows, Research Assistants, or Staff Assistants. That’s in addition to Student Assistant jobs. As with other students, Work Study awards can be verified by asking the student to present an Award Verification Form.

Work Study Graduate Assistants are paid at the hourly rate equivalent to regular graduate assistant appointments including the value of the waiver of a portion of resident tuition. Tuition waivers are not part of their compensation. Work Study Graduate Assistants must be paid hourly and may not work more than 19.5 hours per week. If the Work Study appointment is combined with other hourly campus employment, the combined hours may not exceed 19.5 hours per week. Work Study student employees are limited to earning the amount of their awards. Because of the higher pay rate for these students, the number of hours worked per week may be much fewer than 19.5. Students interested in switching some of their loans to Work Study to increase their number of hours may inquire at the Work Study Office.

Job selection

About two weeks before the start of an employment period (summer or academic year), the job listings will be posted for students to apply. The students contact employers directly to arrange for interviews and may apply for as many positions as they choose. There are always more positions available than there are students eligible for Work Study, so again, it is important that your Job Description be clear, concise and reflect a competitive wage for that type of job. Job descriptions are accepted throughout the school year and not during the beginning of the year.

Work Study Award Verification

“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

Applicants for your Work Study position can confirm their Work Study Eligibility by either providing an award letter showing that they have been offered the award for the current school year or by forwarding the Work Study Award Confirmation email. They can print their award letter by logging into their MYUW account and going to view their Financial Aid Status. The Work Study Award Confirmation email would have been sent to their UW email address. If the student is unsure of their eligibility, please have them reach out to the Work Study office. If they do not have one, they should not be interviewed, as they may not be eligible for Work Study.

Their award letter will show their eligibility period (assuming that they will be enrolled throughout the academic year at least half time) and their Work Study Award amount for the specific school year. Note that for full-time Summer employment, the student can verify their award by providing a letter of eligibility specifically for full-time summer employment. The Work Study Eligibility Letter for the full-time summer employment period does not show a maximum award as students are expected to earn as much as possible during the summer. The amount earned for summer will depend on the job’s pay rate and the total possible working days in the summer period (remember that full-time Summer Work Study students must work full-time, 40 hours per week).

Please note: For full-time summer students, be sure that eligibility is also checked for the academic school year before they continue to work the same position. Not all students eligible for full-time summer will also have eligibility throughout the academic school year.

Every year is a period of new eligibility. In terms of financial aid, Summer is the first quarter of the new school year. Therefore please review eligibility accordingly to continue utilizing the Work Study Award for Work Study employees.

Interview & screening process

It is advisable to review the job description with the student during the interview and also point out any special requirements not listed on the job description, such as particular hours needed (e.g., lunch coverage every day). Make sure the student is fully aware of the requirements of the job, so there won’t be any unpleasant surprises later.

Some Work Study students have little or no prior work experience, but if well trained and supervised, will be an asset to a department. It may be helpful to consider the applicant’s potential for growth as an employee.

To the extent possible, students should be hired into positions that are related to their educational goals or career interests.

Please note: If your job falls under the Child Adult Abuse law and/or similar State Department of Health regulations requiring background checks, please remember that you are responsible for obtaining and retaining the Criminal History Form for work study students, just like any other hourly or temporary staff.

Hiring & payroll documents

When you have hired a student, complete the Hiring form within one week of hiring/prior to the student’s first day of employment. A copy of the google forms Hiring form will be sent to your email for your reference. Keep note of the job referral number at the time the job description has been approved of. The job number enables the Work Study Office to know which job the student has been hired into.

After you have returned the completed Work Study Hiring form, the employing department initiates the required payroll documents and hires the student in Workday.

Hiring & departmental information

In addition to completing the necessary information to place a student in the UW payroll system, other information must be provided to all new employees, including students, at the university. As an institution receiving government funding, each employee must be apprised of the Drug Free Workplace status of the institution and that employees must abide by the prohibition of the use of drugs in the workplace as a condition of employment. The hiring department is responsible for administering the Drug Free Workplace Notification requirement for student employees as specified in the UW Operations Manual, Section D 13.7. In addition, Washington state law and university policy requires that employees be apprised of hazardous chemicals within the department. The UW Operations Manual, Section D 12.5 includes a list of hazardous substances, which may be present and describes methods of informing employees about hazardous chemicals. Information, training, and flyers on hazard communication are available from the Environmental Health and Safety Department (Box 354400, 543-7262).


Supervision of student employees involves providing adequate orientation to work rules in the department and training for specific job duties. It also involves planning the student’s work schedule, confirming hours/approving time entries in Workday, and monitoring the student’s earnings and Work Study award. Each Work Study student must be supervised by a regular UW employee who can attest to the quality of the student’s work and hours reported on their time sheet. The level of supervision, whether close or limited, will depend on the job duties, and the student employee’s abilities and experience. The student should know at all times who is his or her immediate supervisor and know who to contact about problems arising on the job.

Planning the work schedule

During the academic year period, students are awarded a fixed amount of Work Study funding, subject to revision. You and your Work Study student should plan the work schedule so that the student can work throughout the award period and use the entire amount of the award. The average number of hours per week can be determined using the following formula:

Amount of award/number of weeks = $ per week
$ per week/hourly pay rate = # of hours per week

Students may work a maximum of 19.5 hours per week while classes are in session. If, after calculating the hours per week using the above formula, you find the student will not be able to use the full award, you may refer him or her to the Office of Student Financial Aid for a possible adjustment in the aid package. In most cases, a student will be able to use the remainder of the award during quarter breaks (see Employment between quarters ). The last day any academic year Work Study funds can be earned is the last day of final exams of spring quarter.

You and the student should establish a work schedule that takes into account both your needs. If the job has specific time requirements, these should be made clear on the job description and in the interview. Work Study students are, first and foremost, students and you should try to be as flexible as possible regarding class schedules and other academic requirements. At the same time, Work Study students are expected to be responsible employees, and to give notice if they are ill or otherwise must be absent during regular work hours. Students should be advised at the time of hiring about your expectations for notification of lateness or absence.

If the student becomes ineligible for aid (e.g., fails to complete the minimum credit requirement or withdraws from school), or is not awarded Work Study for the following quarter, the unearned portion of his or her award is lost.

Please note that you will be notified if your student employee becomes ineligible for Work Study. If he or she continues to work after you have been notified or after withdrawal from the university, you will be responsible for paying 100% of the wages. Students must be paid for all hours worked. If they are no longer eligible for Work Study funding, your department is responsible for the balance of their earnings.

Employment between quarters

A student may work up to 40 hours per week when classes are not in session (Winter and Spring Break), providing he or she has been awarded Work Study for the current and following quarter and is enrolled at least half time in the subsequent quarter. A student who graduates or does not plan to enroll the following quarter may not work during the quarter break on Work Study.

Please note:  Summer work study eligibility should not be assumed just because the student was eligible throughout the previous academic year. Be sure to explicitly check summer eligibility.

The period between the end of Spring Quarter and the beginning of Summer Work Study (July 1) is not considered a quarter break. Students cannot work during this time.

Summer work study schedule

Full-time Summer Work Study students work full-time, 40 hours per week from July 1 until the last working day prior to the start of Fall Quarter. Calculation of the student’s summer award is made according to the following formula:

Pay rate X 8 hours/day X # days in summer work period = Summer Work Study Award

After paying for job-related expenses in the summer, the student is expected to save a specific amount from Summer Work Study earnings to help pay for academic year expenses. If he or she requests time off, you may permit it, but the student should be aware that no adjustment to the expected contribution will be made by the Office of Student Financial Aid in calculating academic year eligibility. If a student is not able to earn the full amount of the award due to circumstances beyond his or her control (e.g., extended illness or office closures), the student should consult the Work Study Office.

Part-time Summer Work Study students (students enrolled in Summer school) may not begin working until July 1. Although Summer Quarter starts earlier, Work Study is not available until the new funding year begins on July 1. There is no Work Study Program between the last day of Spring Quarter and July 1; students working during the interim must be paid 100% by the department.

Employee evaluations, conflicts and termination

We recommend you establish formal or informal procedures for evaluating your Work Study student’s job performance, so the student knows how he or she is doing on the job and can make appropriate changes. Evaluations need not be extensive, but should be as frequent as necessary and take into account both a student’s basic skills and improvement in performance. On-going evaluation of job performance is a courtesy to students and may prevent problems that could result in termination.

If a problem develops between you and your Work Study student such as a personality conflict or a misunderstanding regarding job duties, you should attempt to resolve the dispute within normal channels of your department following the current University policies. If this process is not successful, you may contact the Work Study office for assistance. The final arbitrator in employment disputes is the Office of Risk Management.

If you find you need to terminate a Work Study student’s employment, the general rule is to give 15 days written notice of the termination.


Students must be paid at the established pay rate for all hours worked including training time. However, if a student works in excess of 40 hours in any week, he/she must be paid by the department “time and one-half” for hours in excess of 40 hours per week. Since the Work Study Office does not authorize overtime, these costs must be paid 100% by the employing department.
Work Study students are paid on the same schedule as regular university staff on the 10th and 25th of each month. Direct deposit is set up in Workday for payment. View this link for more information about the UW Payroll Calendar.

Payroll documents

The hiring department will initiate payroll documents and hires the student in Workday.  On the “Propose Compensation Hire Page”, the cost center is the department budget for the 40% charge.  You will then change the “Organization Assignment” to Work Study and default to Federal.  We will determine if a position can be funded with State Work Study once we approve the Work Study hire and will reach out if the Organization Assignment needs to be revised. Work Study student employees must be paid hourly.

For grant budgets, please refer to the Workday Costing Options in the User Guide for specific instructions.

Time tracking

Work hours will be entered in Workday and paid through this system.  The same Workday Pay Schedule will be followed.  Any late submission of work hours will be paid in the following pay period.  There is a definite deadline at the end of the school year to submit Work Study hours then it is too late, and the hours will be the department’s responsibility 100%.  There is no Work Study eligibility for the latter part of June.

Monitoring Work Study awards

As you submit Work Study time sheets through the quarter, keep track of the student’s earnings to ensure fairly consistent use of his or her award. Some departments ask the student to monitor their own earnings. As the employing department, however, you are responsible for monitoring earnings and must pay for all hours not eligible for Work Study funding from your departmental budget. If a Work Study time sheet is submitted that includes earnings that exceed the student’s award, we will notify you that you need to create and hourly appointment and report the excess hours on the department’s Positive Time Report. If payment has been made before the error is detected, the charges will be transferred to the employing department. Your budget will be charged 100% for the extra hours.

Budget activity of Work Study earnings

Review student employment charges monthly in MyFinancial.desktop or UW Enterprise Data Warehouse. Your charge should reflect the 40% employer portion of your student’s wages. If your budget is charged incorrectly, notify the Work Study Office immediately. We will review the charges, and make appropriate corrections. Because Work Study funding is allocated on a yearly basis, adjustments requested after the end of the fiscal year may not be possible.

The Work Study Office also checks for correct charges to the Work Study budgets. Amounts charged to Work Study in excess of the student’s Work Study award will be transferred to the employing department at some point in time.