State Work Study: Employers


State Work Study (SWS) provides opportunities for undergraduate students to pay part of their college costs now rather than deferring those costs in the form of added loan debt. Research indicates that students who work between 10 and 19 hours per week tend to persist in their degree programs at higher rates than other financially needy students. Also, students graduating with job-ready skills and competitive résumés are more likely to find employment that contributes to Washington’s future economic growth.

As an employer, you gain access to a well-educated and highly motivated pool of workers who help you operate more productively. By reimbursing a portion of student wages, the state incents you to participate while leveraging taxpayer resources by 40 percent. Nearly 1,000 employers gain access to cost-effective, part-time help from motivated students eager to utilize their classroom learning in real-world work situations.


Eligible employers for SWS include government agencies, for-profit corporations, small businesses, and nonprofit organizations. (However, the state constitution prevents from participating in the program any business or organization involved or with a controlling interest in political or religious activity.)

Interested employers should complete the Employer Contract and Business Profile and Job Description in order to determine whether you are eligible for SWS funding. In some cases, the Washington Student Achievement Council may request that you fill out a “Religious Affiliation Questionnaire” to determine whether your organization is religiously affiliated.

SPU’s Office of Student Employment makes its selections based on the following:

  • The nature of the position
  • Your organization’s compatibility with our role and mission
  • The capacity of the work environment to ensure that it promotes a positive learning experience
  • Whether the position directly relates to a specific course of study within the university and will provide educational benefits to a student
  • Whether the position is adequately supervised

In addition, SPU requires that the position will not displace regular workers or impair existing contracts.

To qualify for reimbursement, you must hire a college student who is eligible to participate in the SWS program and has received an SWS Statement of Eligibility from SPU. However, we encourage you, if you are able, to also hire qualified students who are not eligible for SWS.

Download the State Work Study Employer Handbook (PDF) for detailed information relating to these topics and more:

  • Policies, procedures, and paperwork
  • Job descriptions
  • Posting jobs
  • Reporting a hire
  • Summer employment
  • Employer reimbursement
  • Links to SWS forms

You can also download the State Work Study FAQs for Employers (PDF).


Employers who participate in the SWS program will be reimbursed 40% to 70% of a student’s gross wages. Employers must submit a timesheet to SPU each payroll period in order to receive reimbursement.

2018-2019 Reimbursement Rates

  • 40% For-profit employers
  • 60% Government/public institutions
  • 70% Non-profit employers & STEM employers
More information

A wealth of information is provided on State Work Study by the Washington Student Achievement Council.

If you have questions, contact the student employment coordinator at 206-281-2047 or