Student Financial Services
Student Financial Services

Financial Aid: Managing Your Financial Aid

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Student Employment / Work Study

Employment & Loan Programs (PDF)

Student Employment / Work Study

A Brief Overview

What is it?
Work Study is a federal, state or institutionally funded program that encourages employment in community service, on-campus and in fields related to your major of study.  With Work Study, undergraduate students work on-campus, or with approved off-campus employers, to earn money to pay towards college expenses. Eligibility for each type of work study is determined by the information provided in your FAFSA. 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).

How Does it Work?

Work Study earnings will be given to you in the form of a paycheck. You may use the earnings to pay down your tuition and fees, or to cover other educational expenses. Work Study earnings are considered taxable income. Additionally, earnings received through the Federal or State Work Study programs have tha benefit of not being considered when determining your Financial Aid eligibility for the following academic year.

On-campus student employees may work up to 20 hours per week during the academic year and up to 40 hours per week during academic breaks, as long as they intend to enroll at least half time when classes resume.  Off-campus student employees must meet the same enrollment requirement, but may only work up to 19 hours per week.

How Does Work Study Benefit Me?
* Gain work experience, improve your skills, and build your resume
* Explore possible career opportunities
* Reduce loan indebtedness and help pay your way through school
* Federal and State Work Study earnings will not be considered when determining your Financial Aid eligibility for the following academic year.

You will be surprised by how much you can earn during an academic year (an academic year is considered to be three quarters of 10 weeks each, totaling 30 weeks). If you work 12.5 hours per week at $9.50 an hour, you can earn about $3,562. Hours worked during vacation periods may provide additional income. To maximize earning potential, start your job search early.

Is Work Study Guaranteed?
Work Study is not guaranteed. If you are awarded Work Study, it simply means that you are eligible for the program. In order to use a Work Study Award, you are required to locate a Work Study job. Because Work Study positions are in high demand, it is important that you are proactive in your job search and start applying to positions as early as possible.

What if I don’t have State or Federal Work Study eligibility?
All SPU students are eligible for Institutional Work Study and so eligible to pursue all on-campus jobs. After a student is hired, SFS determines whether the job should be classified as a Federal Work Study job or an Institutional Work Study job.

Positions in the Campus Bookstore, Campus Dining, University Ministries, School of Theology, Center for Biblical and Theological Education and ASSP are considered non-Work Study positions.

How to Find a Job

If you are looking for work, being an SPU student is an advantage. Nearly one in five off-campus state work-study positions lead to permanent employment after graduation.

Resources for the job-seeking student can be found at Student Employment, including information about SPULink, SPU’s job posting and application website, which lists year-round opportunities, both on and off campus.
SPU also hosts an annual Job Fair during the first week of Autumn Quarter; this is the best time to secure a Work Study job.  Here, students have the opportunity to meet on- and off-campus employers who are interested in hiring student employees.  

For assistance in navigating the student employment website, or for strategies for finding a job, contact the Student Employment Coordinator at 206-281-2047 or


Earnings refer to the amount of money you are paid each pay period. The amount you earn cannot exceed what you have been awarded. However, your employer has the option of keeping you as a regular employee once your work-study award is exhausted.
It may be possible to obtain an increase to your SWS award. Contact Student Employment.

Off-campus Community Service employment refer to positions in the Seattle area listed by community-focused organizations.  These might involve working with at-risk youth, homeless persons, or the elderly, for example.
You are eligible to pursue a job in this category only if your Offer of Financial Assistance indicates eligibility for work study and you have obtained a Community Service Work Referral.

Off-campus Non-Work-Study employment refers to positions that are not linked to Work Study funding.  These jobs listed are available to all SPU students.

Off-campus State Work Study (SWS) employment refers to positions available at businesses in the Seattle area.  You are eligible to pursue a job in this category only if your Offer of Financial Assistance indicates eligibility for work study, and you do not have a declared major or minor in the School of Theology. If you are a dependent students, your parents must also be WA state residents.

On-campus employment refers to positions available on the SPU campus.  Paychecks for these positions are prepared twice a month.  Students are required to have paychecks from on-campus employers directly deposited into a checking or savings account. You can setup direct-deposit online through Banner.

Pre-employment forms refer to the documents you need to complete before you can work.  These include:

  • Federal Employment Verification form (I-9) (PDF).  Proof of identification and authorization to work in the United States (i.e., original social security card and driver’s license or original passport, etc.) is required along with this form.  All acceptable documentation is outlined on the I-9 form.
  • IRS W-4 form (PDF).
  • Work Referral (electronic).  This is generated by Student Financial Services for your potential employer; it states the amount of your work-study eligibility.

All forms are available in the Student Financial Services office, or as linked above.

Summer Employment Opportunities refer to positions available during the summer.  These openings, for both on- and off-campus work programs, are listed on the website. On-campus summer positions are only eligible for Institutional Work Study funding. Some off-campus summer positions are eligible for State Work Study.

The amount you are eligible to earn for Summer State Work Study will vary each year depending on available funding, your summer enrollment (if any), and your demonstrated financial need as determined by the upcoming academic year FAFSA.

If you have any financial aid requirements for the upcoming academic year, they will need to be completed before summer eligibility can be determined. If you are enrolled less than half-time during the summer (0-5 for undergraduate or 0-2 for graduate), you are required to save 40% of your gross earning to spend on the upcoming academic year.

SPU applications for summer aid will be available in April. For specifics about student eligibility and procedures, contact SFS.

Last Updated: 6/24/2015