Frequently Asked Questions

Undergraduate

Work-Study for Students

Am I assigned a job by the work-study office?

No. You get to review job openings and apply as you would for any other job. The application process will give you an opportunity to develop your resume, which you will include with your application, along with a cover letter. The employer is also likely to ask you to attend an in person interview. The employer chooses how students apply and the employer does the hiring through the referral process.

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. . Note that off-campus employers are obligated to deduct FICA taxes. You will be required to complete a W-4 Employee Withholding Allowance Certificate when you start working, which will determine how much income tax is withheld from your work-study earnings.

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. Note that off-campus employers are obligated to deduct FICA taxes. You will be required to complete a W-4 Employee Withholding Allowance Certificate when you start working, which will determine how much income tax is withheld from your work-study earnings.

Can a DREAM Act student receive work-study?

DREAM Act students who have completed a California DREAM Act application on-time, and who have been approved for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) are eligible for University Work Study. If you have not been awarded University Work Study on your FAN, please go to our website under forms and publications and use the Work Study revision form to request it.

Can any employer be a work-study employer?

Any campus employer can be a work-study employer. And we work with off-campus employers who set-up a contracts with us.

 

Can graduate students receive work-study?

Yes, graduate students can apply for a $2,000 federal work study award by completing the Work Study revision form. If you are applying for the Graduate Work Study Program please visit the UCLA Graduate website for the application. 

Can I keep working if I'm not enrolled or graduate?

Unfortunately, you cannot keep working at your Work-Study job if you are not enrolled. If you withdraw, are dismissed, or graduate, your Work-Study position ends on the last day of your enrollment. If your employer wants to keep you working and pay you 100% of your earnings without the work-study subsidy, they can do so, but it is no longer work-study employment. You must notify your employer of your change in enrollment.

Can I work more than one job simultaneously?

No, you may only have “one” Work-study job. You may have two jobs on campus but only one can be work study position. For campus positions the university usually limits students to a maximum of 20 hours per week (adding up all your campus jobs) check with the hiring department's payroll administrator if you need further information.

Do I need to accept loans to convert them to work-study?

No, if you plan on converting loans to work-study, leave that amount as "Offered" and not as "Accepted." You can accept a lesser amount and hold the difference in reserve to convert to work-study. Please contact the Financial Aid and Scholarships office to have your work-study converted to a loan.

How can I get the most out of the work-study program?

Work-study jobs give you a way help pay for college and graduate with less debt. They also help you develop your resume, network with employers, obtain major/career-related work, and assist you in becoming a savvy, aggressive job hunter. You might want to think about what your education and career plans are and try to find a job that matches up with or complements those ambitions.

How do I get paid and how often?

You will need to sign up for direct deposit with your hiring department. You will receive your pay check via direct deposit on a bi-weekly basis.. Please check the UCLA bi-weekly payroll calendar for pay days.

How do I obtain my W-2 form?

W-2 forms are usually provided to you by your employer at the end of January. If working off-campus and being paid directly by your employer, your employer provides the W-2 form to you.

How many hours per week do I need to work?

We recommend that students work no more than 20 hours a week.

For example, if you have $2,000 in work-study for the academic year and you find a $13/hour job, figure on three months of solid work for the fall: October, November and December to earn $1000. That's $335 per month ($1,000/3), which equals $84/week, which equals 12.8 hours per week of work ($84/$13 A national study showed that students who work 10-15 hours per week have a higher graduation rate than the overall student body. However, the graduation rate begins to decline as the number of hours worked increases above 15 and students who try to work more than 20 hours per week and go to school full-time have the highest dropout rate.

How much does a work-study job pay?

From minimum state wage, to upwards of more than $20/hour. The hourly wage is typically tied to the level of responsibility or skills the position requires. Graduate student positions tend to have the highest wage levels.. Employers set the hourly rate

If I don't work, do I have to give the money back?

You only receive work-study funds if you work employed in a work-study position. Therefore, if you do not work there will not be anything you need to repay.

Is it possible to increase the amount of my offered work-study award?

Yes. If your earnings have reached your award amount offered, you may file a petition for review to increase your award amount. Approval of such a request is not guaranteed and will depend on the availability of funding, please visit www.financialaid.ucla.edu and complete the Work Study Award Request Form. 

Is there work study for summer sessions?

Yes, Work-study jobs are available for students during the summer. You must meet the financial aid requirements as required for the academic year. The work study funds earned during the summer are specifically designed to meet your expenses during the award year. Save summer earnings to pay your expenses once the academic year begins.

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

No, you are not required to work. You may have the option of converting your work-study to loans. If you decide not use work-study or don’t earn it, be sure not to include it as a resource in your personal budget.

MyUCLA message reads "File Incomplete." Can I be hired in a work-study job?

You cannot earn work-study or be referred to a work-study job until your file is complete. You can view both the "Messages" and "Required Documents" sections in MyUCLA to find out what you need to do to complete your file.

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

No, you can leave a job if you wish to. If you do decide to leave a position you should do so professionally, giving two weeks notice and fulfill your job duties until your last day on the job. If you have extenuating circumstances for needing to leave a job with less than two weeks notice you should inform your employer as to the circumstances.

Conversely, employers are not obligated to keep you employed if you are not performing your job duties to the standard they expect of you.

What does my work study dollar amount mean?

Your grade level determines the total amount of work-study funds allotted to you. Upper classman generally receive a slightly higher maximum award. The award is the total amount you can earn in a work study position (it takes into account both the work-study share and the employer's share, anything earned over your award amount is 100% owed to you by the employer). Your financial aid offer splits it into three quarters but, you can earn any or all of that amount at any point during the academic year or summer providing that you are an enrolled student; (check work study calendar for dates for summer and academic year)

What happens on the last day of the spring quarter?

The work-study program year is over. Any work-study award amount left unearned is gone. It does not carry over into your financial aid for the next program year.

Who do I contact to be set-up on payroll?

Contact the Human Resources administrator for the department or campus organization that hired you. If unsure, ask your supervisor. Note: Payroll does not go through the Work-Study Office; students are paid directly by their department/employer.

Who is eligible for work study?

Sudens who receive a work sudy award on heir Financial Aid Noificaion (FAN) financial are eligible o apply for work-sudy jobs. Sudens mus:

  • Submi a FAFSA or DREAM applicaion by March 2nd

  • Demonsrae a financial need wih an EFC of $12,000 or less
  • Enrolled a leas half ime (undergraduaes 6 unis & graduaes 4 unis)


Why did my work-study amount decrease?

Work-study can decrease because financial aid in another area increased, e.g. an outside scholarship check arrived. Your financial aid package is a zero-sum game; you cannot receive more financial aid than you are eligible for. Your work-study might also have decreased because you requested that it be converted to a loan. Other common reasons for decreases are withdrawal, were dismissal, or graduation (students who are not enrolled cannot continue in their work-study position). Students who are on academic probation may have their work-study eliminated.

Will a job hurt my studying time?

Only if you allow it to. It takes time management to be a good student and work part time but it can be done. Working part time during the academic year or in the summer can reduce or eliminate the need to borrow in student loans.

Will I find a job relating to my intended major/career?

We encourage you to apply for jobs related to your major or career. If you are a freshman you should bear in mind that you could be competing with upperclassmen and grad students, so it may be harder to find a position closely related to your major or intended career. It is not impossible to do so, but you may need to consider other job areas as a way to start building your resume

Consider what works well with your schedule and pays well. You can also think in terms of networking. If you want to work in a particular major-related area, but don't have the required course work yet, see if you can get a job in that department. If you do a great job and make contacts, you may be able to use those contacts to further your education and career plans in the future. Networking is important.

    FATV provides quick video answers to common financial aid questions. Click on the image below to go to the full video library.