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Work-study awards

A work-study award does not guarantee you a job. You must search and apply for positions. Check the U of M OHR Student Employment pages for job openings that fit your needs and qualifications. Apply directly with the employer to be considered during their selection process.

Work-study awards are a form of financial aid which provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students who need help to pay their educational expenses. Students must complete a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for a work-study award.

How to qualify for a work-study award

You may be awarded work-study on your FAAN if you:

  • indicated an interest in work-study employment on your FAFSA;
  • are an undergraduate pursuing your first degree;
  • qualify for need-based aid which is determined by your FAFSA results;
  • are enrolled at least half time;

Graduate and professional school students are awarded work-study upon request if they have need-based eligibility and will be enrolled at least half time. Graduate/professional students who have utilized work-study awards in prior years will be awarded work-study if their need-based eligibility and enrollment status continue to meet program criteria.

Work-study benefits

What makes work-study special, compared to part-time employment in general?

  1. You'll have a greater number of job postings available to you. Some employers will only accept qualified work-study applicants.
  2. Work-study income is not included when your financial need is determined each year, which may increase your eligibility for other types of financial aid, such as scholarships, grants, and subsidized loans.

Finding a work-study job

The U of M Job Center provides centralized employment services for all University students seeking part-time employment. A variety of opportunities are available; some jobs require little or no experience while others require expertise and training. Positions are posted within job families including clerical, information technology, food and parking services, laboratory, teaching and research, and science and engineering. Typical pay for undergraduate students in these positions range from $8 to $11 per hour. All jobs are posted to the U of M Human Resources Web site. A link is provided in the column to the right or click on the Employment and Career Resources link in the Services section of the One Stop Student Home page.

Work requirements

You may use your work-study funds in any on-campus student position or off-campus position offered through the Community Service and America Reads programs. The work-study award amount on your FAAN is the total amount you may earn in your work-study position. Working part time for 10-20 hours per week is recommended, but if you are an undergraduate, you are permitted to work a maximum of 40 hours per week. Most employers will work with students to set a reasonable work schedule around a student's academic and other commitments. Graduate students should always check with University Human Resources to understand how many hours a week they may work: there are statutes within the Public Employment Labor Relations Act (PELRA) which may limit a graduate student's work hours.

Important dates for work-study

Work dates are determined by your work-study award period and registration status. You must stop work immediately when you reach your total award unless your department decides to continue to fund your position as regular student employment. Your award may be cancelled if you are not employed after a certain amount of time, in order for unused funds to be awarded to another student. If you begin school in the fall semester, plan to obtain a work-study position by October 31.

Work-study questions and answers

What if I was not awarded work-study but would like to work in a work-study position?
You should contact One Stop Student Services to determine if you meet work-study eligibility criteria. If you do, you will be placed on a work-study waiting list and as funds become available, you will be awarded and notified. (If you complete your FAFSA as early as possible and respond promptly to all requests for additional financial aid documentation, you will increase your chances of receiving a work-study award on your FAAN.)
If I applied for financial aid and have financial need, why did I not receive a work-study award?
Not enough work-study funds are available to award all students who make requests. If you are interested in student employment and have not received a work-study award, apply for other University student jobs at the U of M Job Center. Student employees earn the same wages whether or not they have a work-study award.
Can I work more than one work-study job?
Yes, but you must monitor your total earnings from both positions to ensure that you do not exceed your work-study award amount. Undergraduate students must not exceed a 40 hour work week when utilizing their work study awards.
How many hours of work-study are recommended per week?
Research has shown that a maximum of 15 hours per week can provide students valuable working experience without interfering with academic priorities. Every student and schedule is different. Talk openly with your work-study supervisor to agree on a work schedule that's right for you.
If I earn my full work-study award, can I receive more?
You should conscientiously track your earnings and contact One Stop Student Services to determine if you have eligibility for additional work-study funding. If funds are available and you have unmet need, your work-study award may be increased.
Can I transfer my fall/spring work-study award to the summer term if I did not use it during fall and/or spring semester(s)?
No, work-study awards for the fall and spring semesters expire on the last day of spring semester. Any unused awards or portions of awards are invalid after this day. You will be considered for a new summer work-study award if you are enrolled at least half time for May/summer term.
Should I report my work-study earnings on my tax return?
Yes, all work-study earnings are taxable income and must be reported as such.
How do I report my work-study earnings on my FAFSA?
You will be asked to report work-study earnings in the Additional Financial Information section of your FAFSA. This allows your work-study earnings to be excluded when determining your financial need. This is a major benefit of having an award and using your work-study award.
If I decline my work-study award, will I receive some other form of financial aid?
If you decline your work-study award, you may be eligible for additional student loan funding. Contact One Stop to discuss your loan options. You may decline your work-study award after completing your FAAN by contacting One Stop.
How do I get a work-study job?
Receiving a work-study award does not guarantee student employment. You must search for a job at the U of M OHR Student Employment page.

To schedule an interview for a posted job, contact the employer directly. If you are having difficulty finding a job, contact a staff member at the Student Employment Office.

You may not always find your "dream" job immediately, but work-study opportunities provide valuable experience and help reduce the cost of your education. Be open to trying work-study jobs outside of your field of study or prior work history.