Federal Work Study

Students who work during the academic year can make a significant contribution toward meeting their college costs and prepare themselves for life after college as well. A listing of Federal Work-Study jobs is available at the Center for Career & Professional Advancement. The Federal Work-Study award is not a guarantee of employment. Students will need to apply for and be hired into a position.

What is Federal Work-Study?

Federal Work-Study is a federally funded program that enables students to earn money for college costs through part-time employment. The program pays a portion of the student's wages which allows the campus to provide more work opportunities on and off-campus to students. The program also allows students to secure academic or career-oriented employment while providing essential services to the university and the community.

The Federal Work-Study program was also created to stimulate and promote part-time employment for students who have financial need and who need earnings to pursue a college education. It allows students to meet their educational expenses without incurring a lot of debt and is intended to provide worthwhile job opportunities for qualified students.

In addition, a student's income earned under a Work-Study job is exempted from student contribution assessment. This means that earnings from your Work-Study job will not be included in calculating your student contribution which may improve the amount and types of aid you are considered for when filing a financial aid application in future periods. 

Benefits of Student Employment

Studies show that compared to students who do not work, students who work a modest number of hours per week will, on average:

  • have higher grade point averages;
  • graduate at a faster rate;
  • be less likely to drop out; and
  • have more job skills to include on their resumes.

Some Possible Explanations Why

  • Working students become better organized and manage their time better.
  • Employment exposes students to more mentor-type relationships and increases interaction with "real world" people.
  • Become involved in the campus community both as a professional and as a student.
  • Motivation to maintain the necessary academic standings to continue to work.

Here's How it Works

  • Students who wish to be considered for the Federal Work-Study program must apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) by the priority deadline March 2 and meet eligibility requirements for Federal Student Aid.
  • All students are automatically considered for Federal Work-Study.  All eligible students with remaining financial need after all other student financial aid is taken into consideration, will be awarded Federal Work-Study eligibility.  Students not awarded Federal Work-Study who fall into one of the two categories below, may submit a request for reconsideration:

1) A continuing UC Merced student who earned Federal Work-Study in the prior year and will be continuing in the same position.
2) An Independent Student who is not planning to borrow the full amount of student loans offered

  • Students must accept their federal work study award online at MyFinancialAid. This tells us you are taking the next steps in the process.
  • Students who receive a Federal Work-Study financial aid award may apply for the Work-Study jobs listed on the Center for Career & Professional Advancement website (some jobs are not available to students without Work-Study).
  • To be eligible to apply for a Work-Study position, students must be enrolled full time.
  • When applying for Work-Study positions, students will need to show potential employers a copy of their award notice (from their My.UCMerced.edu portal) and proof that they are enrolled full-time.
  • Students may earn wages up to the amount listed on their financial aid award notice. Work-Study wages do not appear on the student's university MyBill; rather, the student earns a paycheck. Wages are typically paid bi-weekly through the employer's payroll system.
  • A student must have a Federal Work-Study position to earn the federal work study money. 

Jobs for Non-Work Study Students

Students who do not have Work-Study can still find jobs — the university enjoys an active employment market. On campus, the Dining Commons and the Office of International Affairs are frequently in search of good employees — and these are just two of the many departments employing students who do not have Federal Work-Study. See the Center for Career & Professional Advancement website for temporary (non-Work-Study) job listings.