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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 May 2nd 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.