Federal Work-Study Eligible Jobs

UW–Madison Student Jobs

Any UW–Madison Student Help Job which pays an hourly wage is automatically eligible to earn your Federal Work-Study offer, even if the job posting makes no mention of work-study. No additional paperwork is required. A UW–Madison Student Job includes any UW–Madison Department.

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Local Student Jobs

Some local non-profit organizations and small businesses within the state of Wisconsin may be eligible to earn your Federal Work-Study offer. Please contact the Student Employment team if you would like to see if a job you’re interested in may qualify as an eligible Federal Work-Study site.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The Basics Of Work-Study

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What is work-study?

Work-study is a need-based federal student aid program that gives you the opportunity to earn money through part-time employment.

Is work-study mandatory? Do I have to get a job?

Your offer of work-study is an option to work, not a requirement.

If you choose not to work or work an non-work-study job, no additional action is needed. Keep in mind though there are several advantages to holding a work-study job. For example, many employers give preference when hiring to students that have work-study and your work-study earnings are not counted as income on your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). If you work at a non-work-study job, you will need to report your earnings as income on your FAFSA.

Please note: This does NOT mean you are exempt from filing a federal or state tax return because you have earned work-study – it is still earned income and is treated as such.

Does being offered Federal Work-Study guarantee you a job?

Accepting the Federal Work-Study funds you’re offered is just the first step. In order to receive those funds, you need to earn them, which means you are responsible for finding a work-study job. The best place to find a job is on the UW–Madison Student Jobs portal.

Are work-study funds applied directly to your tuition?

Unlike other types of financial aid, work-study earnings are not applied directly to your student account balance. Students who are offered work-study receive the funds in a paycheck as they earn them, based on hours worked, just like a regular job. These earnings are meant to help with the day-to-day expenses that students have and are not meant to cover large costs like tuition and housing.

Does accepting work-study allow me to participate in the Wisconsin FoodShare Program?

You must be currently employed and earning work-study, not just have it accepted. To participate, you’ll need to show copies of your two recent pay stubs from your current work-study job to the Wisconsin FoodShare department. Pay stubs can be found and reprinted from your MyUW portal under Payroll Information. You may also need to provide a copy of your most recent financial aid offer. Find out more information about FoodShare Wisconsin.

Work-Study Pay Information

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What is the pay rate for work study jobs?

Work-study jobs vary in qualifications and responsibilities, so the pay will depend on the job that you are hired to do. UW–Madison campus minimum wage is $10/hr.

How do I get paid?

Unlike most other forms of financial aid which are applied to your student account, the money you earn through work-study is paid directly to you. Generally you will be paid on a bi-weekly basis. All student employment paychecks (including work-study) come from the University’s Payroll Office. The University strongly recommends participating in direct deposit for your employment paychecks and your employment paperwork will likely include information about registering your bank account. If you do not set-up direct deposit, then your paycheck in the form of a focus card will be mailed to the address on file.

Are my work-study earnings taxable?

Yes, generally work-study earnings are taxable, just like regular work earnings. Please refer to your payroll department with specific questions about how your income is taxed.

Can I do anything I want with the money I earn?

Yes, it is money you earned and you can spend it any way you want to. However, the best use of your money is to put it towards your college costs so that you lower your overall debt burden.

Is there any limit to how much I can earn through a work-study program?

Your financial aid will have details about your federal work-study allocation. Your work-study allocation and hourly rate will determine how many hours you can work in an academic year before your work study award is exhausted. You are not obligated to earn the full amount you were offered in work-study, but once you’ve earned all of your available funds, your employer will be responsible for 100% of your wages.

Getting a Work-Study Job

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How do I find a work-study job?

You are responsible for finding a job. The best place to find a job is on the UW–Madison Student Job Portal.

Once you are working, you’ll begin receiving paychecks that will decrease the work-study amount set aside for you. Your hourly wage and number of hours worked each week will be determined by your specific employer.

What jobs are work-study eligible?

Eligible work-study positions includes on campus student help hourly jobs as well as select non-profit organizations or small businesses in the Madison community. All work study eligible jobs are posted on the UW–Madison Student Job Portal.

How many hours am I required to work?

How many hours you work each week will depend on the type of job you get and your employer’s expectations. Most employment positions for students, however, will work around your class schedule and only require between 10 and 15 hours per week, but again—that can vary!

Is there any limit to how much I can work?

UW–Madison policy is that students cannot work more than 30 hours per week for all on campus jobs that they hold. Check with your potential employer(s) for their specific expectations.

Can I work more than one job simultaneously while earning work study?

Work-study does not limit students according to hours or jobs. As long as you haven’t earned your full amount, you the work study will automatically split between the two or more jobs. For campus positions the university usually limits students to a maximum of 30 hours per week (adding up all your campus jobs) during the fall and spring semesters. Check with your department(s) for hour allotments.

Now that I Have Been Hired

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I’ve been hired, now what?

On-campus (University) employers will have UW student employment paperwork for you to complete to get started in your position. Each position may require different paperwork, but your employer will provide you with specifics.

For off-campus (non-University) positions, a Federal Work-Study Student and Employer Information Form (SIF) must be completed. The SIF is obtained in the Student Jobs Platform once your off campus employer has sent you an employment offer. If you have questions about this process, please email us at

Once hired, do I have to stay in that job?

You can leave a job. You want to try to do it on good terms, give two weeks’ notice, and never take any displeasure out on your job duties. But if you have to quit on short notice, quit. If you need assistance finding a new job, feel free to reach out to the Student Employment Team (

I am facing a challenging situation in my work study job, what should I do?

Challenges in the workplace happen and when they do we want you to know there are a variety of resources available to you. Depending on the situation you can connect with your supervisor, human resources representative, or the UW–Madison Student Employment Team (

Do I have to return the money if I do not work or quit my work study job?

Unlike loans where you get the money at the outset, with a work-study allotment you have to earn the money. You only get paid after you’ve put in the work so you do not have to return or pay back any money earned under work study.

UW-Madison employers should refer to the On Campus FWS Employer Guide to answer most questions you may have.

Interested non-profit, community based organization’s or small businesses can learn more about becoming a Federal Work-Study partner by visiting us here.