Work Study

What is Work Study?

Work Study is a financial aid program that allows an undergraduate or graduate student to work on-campus or with approved off-campus employers to earn money to pay for college expenses. Work Study is not a grant (you must work to earn it), and it is not a loan (you don't have to repay it). It is a federal or state funded program with matching funds from Western Washington University. Being awarded Work Study with financial aid can help a student be eligible for part-time jobs, both on- and off-campus, that they may not have otherwise been eligible for. 

Students determined to have calculated financial need from the FAFSA can be employed by WWU through Federal, State and Institutional work study programs.

Work study provides help paying for educational expenses while students gain experience and job skills associated with their academic major or career interests.

If you receive work study funding, use the Student Employment Center’s job listings to help you find a work study job that fits your interests. Your work study job will provide you with a paycheck like any other part-time employment. Although work study earnings are subject to federal income tax like other jobs, they are excluded from the student contribution calculation (the student portion of the EFC). You must maintain at least half-time enrollment status to remain eligible for work study employment. More information on work study and non-work study employment is available at the Student Employment Center website. 

You and Your Family Benefit

Borrow less

If you work just 10 hours per week at an hourly wage of $15.74 (Washington State minimum wage), you can earn $5,4000 during the academic year – or $21,600 over four years. If you were to borrow that $21,600 instead of earning it, you would have to repay the loan AND more than $5,100 in interest, given a typical ten year repayment period with current interest rates.

Opportunity to participate

As a Work Study student, you may work long-term with a department, gaining responsibilities and knowledge working side by side with faculty and staff contributing to Western’s institutional excellence.

Sharpen your resume and career goals

With a Work Study job, you gain practical work experience while exploring potential majors and careers. The real-world experience looks great on your résumé! A college graduate who is academically successful and has solid work experience has a competitive edge when entering the work force.

For more information about Work Study, contact the Student Employment Center.

I have Work Study: What do I do now?

  1. Accept work study on your financial aid offer in Web4U.
  2. Starting in late July, watch your WWU email* for confirmation of your Work Study. Save this email! You will present it to your future employers as confirmation of your Work Study.
  3. Look for jobs online at beginning in August. Work study jobs are available both on-campus and off-campus.
  4. Contact the employer(s), once you determine which job(s) you are interested in, for application requirements or send in your application materials as directed in the job advertisement.

*Your WWU email is connected to your universal account. Activate your universal account.

Don't wait until Winter Quarter!

The majority of work study jobs are filled for the year by mid-October.

To be eligible for a student employment, a student must be enrolled at least half-time. Students may continue to work during break periods, as long as they were enrolled the previous quarter and plan to enroll in the next. During a break period, if a student determines that they will not enroll in the following quarter, they must notify their employer and stop working. Students are ineligible for a student employment position if they have another non-student position with the university. Student employment positions may not displace regular employment positions.

Student employees must demonstrate their eligibility to work in the United States by completing the I-9 form and a W-4 with Human Resources. Student employees must not exceed 516 hours of employment in any six consecutive months. Background checks may be required by some departments, dependent on the requirements of the student employment position.

Western Washington University limits student employees to 19 hours per week. Students may exceed that limit during break periods. Student employees are paid at least minimum wage and are overtime eligible. Per Washington State law, student employees are provided with one paid hour of sick leave for every 40 hours worked. Student employees begin accruing Washington Paid Sick Leave (WPSL) on the first day of employment. They are eligible to begin using WPSL after 90 days of employment. Unused sick leave balances with accruals of less than 40 hours are carried over from one year to the next.

Work Study positions must have an educational component to them, as outlined in their job description. Student employees working in Work Study positions must continue to meet satisfactory academic progress requirements to be eligible to work. Should a Work Study student employee inadvertently work overtime, the overtime hours must be paid via departmental funds. Supervisors and student employees have a shared responsibility to track earnings and ensure that a student does not exceed their Work Study award. The Student Employment Center provides tools to assist both the student and the supervisor with tracking.

For more information, see the Student Employment Handbook.