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Federal Work-Study

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

Any earnings made under Federal Work-Study do not count against your aid eligibility when filling out the next year’s FAFSA. The Federal Work-Study award is not a guarantee of employment. You will need to apply for and be hired into a position. You must have a Federal Work-Study job to earn the federal work-study money. 

How It Works


All students who submit the FAFSA by the March 2 priority deadline and meet eligibility requirements for Federal Student Aid 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.  Students not awarded Federal Work-Study who fall into one of the two categories below may submit a request for reconsideration:

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

To be eligible to apply for a Work-Study position, you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • Be enrolled full time
  • Maintain satisfactory academic progress
  • Satisfy verification requirements, if applicable


Work-Study wages are earned through bi-weekly paychecks and do not appear on your university MyBill. Students who receive a Federal Work-Study financial aid award may apply for the Work-Study jobs listed on Handshake (some jobs are only available to students with a Work-Study award). You may earn wages up to the amount listed on their financial aid award notice.


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
  • gain more job skills
  • become better organized and manage their time better
  • exposes students to more mentor-type relationships and increases interaction with "real world" people

Find a Work-Study Job

Visit Handshake to browse job listings and apply.