Work Study: Students

Work study can refer to any of these three programs — Federal Work Study, Washington State Work Study, and Institutional Work Study. All three encourage employment on campus, off campus, in community service, and in fields related to your major of study. With work study, you work on campus or for approved off-campus employers to earn money to pay toward 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).

How work study works

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. However, earnings received through the Federal or State Work Study Programs are not considered on the FAFSA when determining your financial aid eligibility for the following academic year.


If you work on campus, you 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 you intend to enroll at least half-time when classes resume. If you work in a State Work Study position off campus, you must meet the same enrollment requirement, but may work only up to 19 hours per week while class is in session (and up to 40 hours per week during breaks).


Being a work study student brings many benefits, including:

  • Gaining real-world work experience, improving your skills, and building your résumé.
  • Having the opportunity to explore possible career opportunities.
  • Being able to reduce your loan indebtedness and help pay your way through school.
  • Additionally, Federal and State Work Study earnings won’t be considered on the FAFSA when determining your financial aid eligibility for the following academic year.

You’ll 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 11.5 hours per week at $13 an hour, you can earn over $4,485. Hours worked during vacation periods can provide additional income. To maximize earning potential, start your job search early!


State or Federal Work Study

Eligibility for Federal or State Work Study is determined by the information provided in your FAFSA. Keep in mind, though, that work study employment is not guaranteed. If you are awarded work study, it simply means that you are eligible to participate in the program. Also, 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 be proactive in your job search and start applying to positions as early as you can.

Institutional Work Study

Though you may not be eligible for a State or Federal Work Study award, all SPU students are eligible for Institutional Work Study and, therefore, 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 Institutional Work Study only 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.

Job Fairs

SPU hosts an annual Student Employment Job Fair and a Non-Profit Job and Internship Fair during Autumn Quarter, and a Career Fair during Spring Quarter. Job fairs are a great way to make connections and secure a work study job. You have the opportunity to meet on- and off-campus employers who are interested in hiring SPU students.


Handshake is SPU’s job posting and application website, which lists year-round opportunities, both on and off campus, and offers a wealth of career and job-hunting tools and information.

Need Help?

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