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Work-Study for Students

What is work-study?

Work-study is an employment opportunity program for students who have demonstrated financial need. Unlike other financial aid awards, work-study is paid to students in the form of a paycheck for hours worked.

Work-study is real, on-the-job training and is a way to obtain important pre-graduation work experience. Expect to treat your work-study job as a professional position—it’s a great opportunity to develop skills, network in your field, and build a solid reference for future employment. Work-studies are vital to the University’s daily operations and are a valued part of our workforce.

It's important to note that a work-study award is a potential to earn funds and not a guarantee that you will earn the entire amount awarded.

Students must accept the award, find a job and work hours to earn the award. Please see our Frequently Asked Questions for more information about how work-study works.

If you are a work-study supervisor and have questions about work-study, please visit our work-study supervisor webpage.

How can I be considered for work-study?

To be considered for work-study, you should answer “yes” to the work-study question on the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. Work-study is a need-based program, so not all students qualify. If you qualify and funds are available, you will receive work-study on your UTSA award letter. The University Career Center can assist you in finding a position. Once you find a position and are hired, you will be paid twice per month based on the number of hours you work.


Who qualifies for work-study?

Both undergraduate and graduate students may request work-study. Graduate students are NOT awarded work-study automatically, even if they request it on the FAFSA. They must specifically request it through their Financial Aid Counselor. Students who are not eligible for Federal Financial Aid will not be eligible for the work-study program.

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Why don’t I qualify, or why was I given a reduced amount?

Since work-study is a need-based fund, it must fit within your Financial Aid budget. Scholarships, grants, and some student loan programs are also need-based so there may not be room for work-study without taking something away or reducing other awards. This depends on the Expected Family Contribution (EFC), calculated on the information provided on your FAFSA. If you qualify for a reduced amount, you may still have work-study, but you will not be able to work as many hours or as long during the school year due to the reduced award.

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What if I wasn’t awarded work-study?

Work-study, as with other types of aid, is awarded based on the availability of funds and academic performance and has a limited amount of funding. If you indicated you were interested in work-study on your FAFSA, but were not given a work-study award, check with our office to see if you qualify.

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If I don’t qualify for work-study, what are my options?

If you don’t qualify for the work-study program, you may still want to attend the Student Employment Fairs. There, you will find opportunities for part-time on-campus as well as off-campus positions. These fairs are designed to bring in employers specifically looking to hire college students for part-time work. You may also search the Career Center's Rowdy Jobs for non-work-study positions.

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How do I find a job, and what kinds of jobs are available?

The best way to find open work-study positions is by registering with the Career Center's Rowdy Jobs. There, you can upload your resume, search for positions, and send your resume directly to the hiring manager. Most offices looking to hire prefer this method of applying, though some may specify other preferences. You may also attend one of the Student Employment Fairs held several times per year. These Student Employment Fairs will offer both work-study and non-work-study openings to UTSA students. Contact the Career Center for information about the next Student Employment Fair.

Work-study jobs are primarily on-campus, in various environments. Duties can range from answering the phone to developing web pages for the department, depending on individual department needs. The only off-campus jobs we currently offer are through the America Reads/America Counts program—a community service-based program that allows UTSA students to tutor elementary students around San Antonio in reading and mathematics. For more information about America Reads/America Counts, please contact the Office of K-16 initiatives.

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What if I don’t find a job?

A work-study award does not guarantee that you will find a job—it only means that you qualify to work as a work-study. There are more eligible students than there are open positions—just like a real job, you will be competing with other qualified applicants for those positions. The Career Center offers many workshops for improving your resume, special office skills, and how to dress appropriately. Take advantage of these free workshops as often as possible.

If you are unable to secure a position, you may choose to decline your work-study and pursue other forms of financial aid. It is important to contact our office if you decide you want to decline work-study.

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How many hours a week do we work?

Work-study students may work a MAXIMUM of 19 hours per week during weeks that classes meet. There is no minimum number of hours you have to work, but a department may set a minimum if they have specific needs. During weeks that classes do not meet (e.g. Winter break, Spring break, etc.) you may work up to 40 hours, but no more than 8 hours per day. Keep in mind that if you work more hours per week during those weeks, you may run out of work-study funds before the end of the school year.

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Is there a dress code?

In most offices, work-studies are asked to dress business-casual, though some offices allow jeans or walking shorts. The Career Center offers frequent workshops on how to dress appropriately for interviews and business-casual settings. Remember, this is a professional setting, and even though work-studies are students, they must dress appropriately to their office setting.

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What if I quit my job before the end of the semester?

You will, of course, keep the money that you have already earned. If you choose, you may pursue a position at another department, and use any remaining funds from your award. The two jobs together cannot have a total of earnings beyond the amount you were awarded. For example, if you have an award of $4000 and you use $400 at Department A, you have $3600 left to work at Department B. The only exception to this rule is if, for example, Department B only has $3000 left in their allocation, they can only let you earn $3000 through their department. Departments are given allocations, just as students are given awards. The “real money” is with the department—when the department runs out, they have to terminate the students or hire them under a wages account, even if the student has “potential earnings” left in their award.

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