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student employment

Career Development Center

Make the most of your college experience.

College is about so much more than just lectures and tests. Gain a postgraduation edge by getting an on-campus job. There are so many to choose from and the benefits of working on campus are tremendous.

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You’ve got questions. We’ve got answers.

There’s a lot of info about student employment and the Federal Work-Study Program, so we’ve put together some of our most frequently asked questions so you can find the answers you need quickly.

Federal work-study is a source of federally funded, need-based financial aid. You must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to be considered for work-study. If you demonstrate financial need, you may receive work-study as part of your financial aid package. If so, federal work-study will be listed on your Notice of Financial Aid Eligibility Letter, also called a financial aid award letter. The Office of Financial Aid will determine a maximum amount of work-study funds that you can earn during the school year.

The primary difference is in how the jobs are funded. Take a look at the following information. 

Federal Work-Study Program
Federal work-study is a type of federal aid in which the federal government pays 70 percent of the wages, and the employing department pays 30 percent. To be awarded work-study funds, you must demonstrate financial need, as noted on the FAFSA. Only students eligible for work-study funds may work in work-study jobs. 

Work-study earnings are not considered income when determining eligibility for financial aid the following year, and have a maximum limit listed on your award letter. 

To work a work-study position, you must meet the following half-time enrollment requirements:

  • Six semester hours for undergraduates 
  • Four semester hours for graduate students 
  • The same requirement applies for receiving work-study funding for summer work. 

Regular Employment 
Regular employment does not use federal financial aid money; the employing department or organization pays 100 percent of wages, and you are not required to file the FAFSA to be eligible. Regular employment earnings do not affect your current-year aid package. 

Any student can apply for regular employment jobs, and you won’t have a limit on how much you can earn. However, the numbers of hours available may be limited by the department’s funding. 

You’ll still need to meet the previously stated minimum enrollment requirements for the fall or spring semesters. If you’re working over the summer, the enrollment requirements are waived if you were enrolled at least half-time in the spring and will be enrolled at least half-time in the fall.

You must complete a FAFSA to apply for federal work-study and other need-based aid. The Office of Financial Aid determines your eligibility for aid and notifies you in writing. If work-study is not included on your Notice of Financial Aid Eligibility and you’re interested in a specific work-study job, contact the Office of Financial Aid at 260-481-6820. You may be eligible to have work-study added to your award package.

Please note, increasing or decreasing your work-study eligibility may affect your other financial aid.

You can look on Handshake—our free, online, national job-posting service for students and alumni. In order to view 
work-study positions on Handshake, you must first submit this very short Work-Study Survey. Once you’ve submitted the survey, within 48 hours, you will be able to access the work-study positions posted in Handshake. 

Keep in mind, if you don’t see a position that you want listed on Handshake, you can always ask departments if they’re in need of a work-study student for the semester or year. The on-campus job fair, held the second week of each fall semester, is also a great opportunity to learn about available on-campus positions, many of which are work-study positions. 

You can also ask off-campus, nonprofit organizations if they need a work-study student. Depending on the job description, budget, and needs of the nonprofit—and the approval of Financial Aid—you could create a new work-study position.

Yes, you can ask off-campus, nonprofit organizations if they need a work-study student. Depending on the job description, budget, and needs of the nonprofit, as well as approval of the Office of Financial Aid, you can be employed by a nonprofit organization.

The hourly rate for on-campus employment varies by the budget of each department/organization.

All work-study jobs pay at least the federal minimum wage, but many pay more.

No. Work-study is given only if you demonstrate more financial need after all gift aid has been applied. It will never decrease any of your grants or scholarships. Only loans and work-study aid are interchangeable.

No. You’ll receive work-study payment (check or direct deposit) based on the pay rate and the number of hours you have worked in the pay period.

Handshake is a free, online job search tool the Career Development Center uses to post part-time employment opportunities and internships.

Employers understand that students may have little to no work experience. They will primarily look for your soft skills, such as communication, time management, and teamwork. 

These skills, and more, can be developed by participating in the Endorsed Program

Internship experiences during college are an excellent opportunity to gain real-life experience in a career field prior to entering the job market. 

Federal work-study benefits

What’s in it for you.


Access to more opportunities.

Campus departments and nonprofit organizations are able to hire you because the federal government pays most of your salary. 


Work-study earnings don’t affect your financial aid package.

While earnings from typical jobs do.


Social Security isn’t withheld from your paycheck.

As long as you remain registered for classes (which also holds true for any hourly student worker paid through Purdue Fort Wayne).


More flexibility with work hours.

Employers make an extra effort to ensure that your hours won’t conflict with your class schedule. This isn’t always the case with typical jobs.


You won’t need to take out as many loans.

Which means you'll graduate with less debt.

Contact Us

Have questions?


Contact the Career Development Center at [email protected] or 260-481-0689.