What is work-study?

Work-study is awarded by the Financial Aid Office as part of your financial aid package. It allows you to earn money for your educational expenses. Work-study is paid through the bi-weekly payroll process, and does not credit your student account. To determine if you have an award, review your Award Notification on TritonLink.

To better understand your work-study award, please visit “About Work-Study” on the Financial Aid website.

For more information, contact the UC San Diego FAO Office.

Requirements needed to utilize work-study award:

  • Be a UC San Diego undergraduate student enrolled in a minimum of 6 units.
  • Must pay UC San Diego Student Services Fees each quarter you are working.
  • Demonstrate satisfactory academic progress in a program leading to a degree, according to federal standards.
  • Have been offered and officially accepted a work-study award for the current academic year.



Q: How do I notify a potential hiring department that I have a work-study award?

A: From TritonLink, take a copy of your award information to the job interview. Your work-study information can be found in your Financial Aid award letter. If you already work on campus, notify your department timekeeper that you would like to use your award. Most campus departments and some off-campus agencies employ students with work-study.

Q: Where can I use my work-study award?

A: Work-study is primarily reserved for on-campus UC funded positions, however there are two Off-Campus Work-Study Programs that may utilize your award:

  • Non-Profit Partnership - funded by the Federal government; educationally-related and/or community service positions that are on-campus or with local nonprofit, governmental or community-based organizations.
  • Reading/Math Tutoring Program - funded by the Federal government; work as a reading tutor with pre-K through 5th or 6th grade students and/or family literacy programs or as a math tutor, K through 8th grades. Both assist school children in developing or improving their reading and/or math skills and are with school districts and other nonprofit agencies.

Q: How do I view available on-campus work-study positions in Handshake?

A: Do a keyword search for “work-study.”

Q: How is a work-study job different from a “regular” job?

A: It is the same as a "regular" job. You work hours and receive a paycheck. The Federal government pays a portion of your wages and the employing department pays the other portion.

Q: Do I get a check for the amount shown on my award notification?

A: Once you are working, you submit hours worked and receive a paycheck for those hours. You can earn up to the dollar amount of your work-study award. Once the award amount has been earned, it is up to the employing department to determine if your job will continue.

Q: Does work-study guarantee that I will get a job?

A: It is not guaranteed that you will find a job, because all jobs are competitive and may require a resume and interview. If you are having difficulty securing a work-study job, contact the Student Employment Office to schedule an appointment to discuss.

Q: Do I have to pay the money back?

A: A work-study award is not a loan. It is an award for you to earn and use within the academic year received. There is no penalty if the award is not earned. You do not pay back any unused monies, any unused funds are returned back to the Financial Aid Office.

Q: Are taxes taken out of my work-study earnings?

A: Yes, if you earn enough according to IRS tax rules.