Work Study: Frequently Asked Questions

Work Study vs. Non-Work Study Jobs

Both work study and non-work study programs are administered through the UWSP Student Involvement and Employment Office.

Federal Work Study

A federally funded program for students with demonstrated financial need. Students must complete and return a FASFA each year (applications become available each January at the Financial Aid Office) to be considered for the program.
For the most part, all on-campus positions (with the exception of food service, UC maintenance, and UWSP phonathon callers) may use eligible Work Study students. Additionally, off-campus, non-profit agencies may submit a request for Work Study students to work at their place of employment. All employers pay a portion of the student wages and the federal government pays a portion.
If you are a non-profit agency interested in learning more about the Work Study Program simply email us at and we will send you additional information.

Non-Work Study Jobs

These positions total over half of all the positions on-campus and almost 100% of off campus positions. Employers pay 100% of the student wages through this program.
Both employment programs offer great opportunities for campus and community employers to hire exceptional UWSP students!

What is work Study?

Work Study is a federally funded program for students with demonstrated financial need. Students must complete and return a FAFSA each year (applications become available each January at the Financial Aid Office) to be considered for the program. The only real difference between Work Study and any other job is how a job is funded (The employer pays a portion and the federal government pays a portion). 

Should I Use My Work Study? 

Many students debate whether or not to take advantage of this program. Most freshmen are awarded $1400 for the academic year. At the UWSP campus minimum wage of $7.25/hr; this amounts to only 5 hours a week. This money is often used by students as "spending" money to pay for phone bills, laundry, and an occasional pizza. Students are also concerned about their ability to manage school and work. National studies have been done that indicate students who work less than 20 hours per week, on campus do as well as (if not better) academically than their non-working peers. At UWSP, we believe having a part-time position, on-campus for less than 10 hours a week, provides students with another means to make a connection to campus, meet new people, and to earn a few dollars.

How Does Using Work Study Benefit Me?

Not only will you get paid every two weeks, but your earnings very well may help your financial aid "picture" for the following academic year. All earnings are considered when applying for financial aid. However, Work Study funds are removed from the equation when it comes time to determine your financial aid package. In a nutshell, your earnings "appear" to be less and thus you may qualify for more aid. Using your Work Study also allows you to apply for jobs that are not always available to all students. Some departments are only able to hire Work Study students. Getting these jobs as a freshman is often seen as very beneficial!

Work Study guarantees me a job, right?

Work Study provides funding for jobs; it does not guarantee that a student will get a job. Most employers ask that you complete an application form and/or participate in an interview process. Many times these interviews can be conducted over the phone. Again, the staff at the Student Involvement and Employment Office is available to assist you.

Where can I use Work Study?

For the most part, all on-campus positions (with the exception of UWSP Phonathon callers) may use Work Study. Additionally, you may use your Work Study for approved off-campus, non-profit agencies. 

What kind of jobs are available?

The list is nearly endless for Work Study opportunities! Students work in almost every area on campus and in many off-campus locations. Jobs range from:
  • Clerical
    • Desk attendants
    • Office staff
  • Instructional
    • Lab Assistants
    • Tutors
    • Faculty Assistants
  • Labor
    • Trail Maintenance
    • Custodial
    • Grounds Crew
  • Technical
    • Computer Labs
    • Graphic Design
  • A variety of other positions are also available.

How do I check my Work Study balance?

  • Log into Quest
  • Select the PROFILE menu tab
  • After your name and address fields you will see your Work Study Award, earnings, and remaining balance.

Where can I use it?

You can use your Work Study award almost anywhere on campus (with the exception of positions that focus on fundraising). You can also use your award at off-campus, non-profit locations. UWSP frequently partners with the YMCA, Boys and Girls Club (Portage County and Wausau), Golden Sands RC&D, and the Humane Society of Portage County. If you are aware of a non-profit (that works in the interest of the community) that would like to partner you with the University, contact SIEO for details.

What are the benefits?

For the employer, the most apparent benefit is a cost benefit! Campus employers pay between 25-30% of the student wages (up to the student's award amount), with the Work Study Program paying the remainder of the wage. Students will be paid every two weeks, just like students on the regular payroll. The only difference between the two payrolls is how they are funded.

Money Matters

So, my earnings get attached directly to my bill, right?

Not so! Students will receive a check (through Direct Deposit) every two weeks for the amount of time they worked the previous two weeks. It is up to you how you spend the money. You can apply it directly to your bill, use it to pay your phone bill, or buy everyone on your floor pizza!

How much will I be paid?

This depends on the job. The UWSP campus minimum wage is $7.25/hour.

What happens if I go over my Work Study award?

It is your responsibility to keep track of your Work Study earnings so you do not go over your award amount. Many employers are unable to continue to employ students if they exceed their Work Study award. For more information about the Federal Work Study program and financial aid, visit the UWSP Office of Student Financial Aid web site. 

How do I find a Job?

What happens if I don' t use all my Work Study award?

Any unused Work Study funds revert back to the University. Funds also cannot be carried over from an academic year to the next term. USE IT OR LOSE IT!

How can I find a job during Summer Orientation?

Make sure to stop by the Student Involvement and Employment Office (don't worry, you will get a tour of campus) and meet with one of our trained staff members. We will help you identify open positions, provide you with contact names and numbers, and help answer any questions you might have.

How can I find a job once classes have started?

Once you have registered for classes, you are eligible to log on to our online job search program, QUEST, and look for jobs. Once you are in the system, you will complete a profile and indicate the type of jobs you are interested in. From that point, you will receive e-mail alerts each time a new job is posted. This site is limited to UWSP students and only Work Study eligible students can view Work Study positions. Or, you can visit the Student Involvement and Employment Office and we can help you out.

Since it's called 'Work Study', that means I get paid to study, right?

No. The term "Work Study" describes the nature of the program. Students have an opportunity to work so that they may continue their studies at the University.