Federal Work-Study is a federal financial aid program administered by Boston University. It is designed to promote access to employment to help students meet educational expenses. However, Federal Work-Study is not a traditional financial aid “grant,” and earnings are not applied to tuition. Instead, students are personally paid for hours worked in an eligible Work-Study position, as the program is intended for students to use their Work-Study earnings to pay for education-related expenses. These include tuition and fees, room and board, books, supplies, and necessary travel expenses. You may also want to save part of your earnings to apply toward the following semester’s expenses. Ultimately, the pay from a Work-Study position is the student’s responsibility once earned. There is no obligation to the Federal government or the university.
Work-Study students in a Work-Study job should consult Getting Paid for more information regarding payment and taxes.
Recipients of Work-Study awards have access to additional part-time job opportunities while attending Boston University.
Maintaining Your Work-Study Award
Boston University Financial Assistance selects as many participants for the Work-Study Program as funding allows for the academic year program, while students apply directly for the summer program. Eligibility for both programs is based on financial need. Students may read here for information about Reapplying for Work-Study.
When accepting your financial aid package, you may decline your Work-Study award online if you are not interested in obtaining a Work-Study position. Otherwise, notify Financial Assistance as soon as possible.
Undergraduate students are paid on an hours-worked basis. Graduate students may be paid on either an hours-worked or a weekly-salaried basis, depending on the job. Your earnings will depend on your work schedule and your hourly pay rate or weekly salary and are paid only for hours worked. Holidays, snow days, sick days, lunch, and break periods are unpaid. Rates are set according to the complexity and responsibilities of the job and the skills and experience required. Learn more about Getting Paid.
Students are able to submit an Appeal for Additional Funding if they are actively working in a Work-Study position and will run out of funding before the program end date. We are not able to verify eligibility or increase for students upfront before they have found or started working in a Work-Study position.
Finding a Work-Study Job
The Federal Work-Study Program encourages students to participate in community service. These opportunities include (but are not limited to) health care, child care, literacy programs, public recreational development, neighborhood improvement, and support services to the disabled and elderly. Learn more about the community service and tutoring opportunities established by Boston University.
Overall, most departments at Boston University hire Work-Study students. Available job categories include:
Depending on your previous work experience and how much effort you invest in your search, you may be able to find a job related to your academic and career goals. A job that isn’t related to your field of study can still provide valuable experience and a better understanding of workplace dynamics, so keep an open mind. Many supervisors are open to expanding a routine job into new responsibilities. The more initiative you demonstrate, the more likely your supervisor will be to assign you higher-level tasks and/or promote you.
Students who have been awarded Work-Study may access the Work-Study Job Listings on the Student Link. If you are interested in working with a specific department but do not see an opportunity in the Job Listings, we recommend checking their website or reaching out to them directly.
Interested in working with an outside organization? Learn more about the Off-Campus Work-Study program.
For students looking for general guidance on the student job application process, please refer to our Job Hunting Tips.
As long as you continue to receive a Work-Study award and your supervisor approves your continued employment, you will be automatically rehired into your job from Fall to Spring of the same academic year program, and from Spring to the following Fall for the next academic year program. If you decide not to return to your current job, promptly notify your supervisor, then begin your job search anew.
If you need further assistance in your job search, contact Student Employment Office staff.
Summer Work-Study Program
The Summer Work-Study program is a separate application, funding, and financial aid consideration from the Academic year Work-Study program. Applications for the Summer Work-Study Program can be completed in the embedded form below or through this link. Please note that this application is for undergraduate students only. Graduate students should contact their school or college’s financial aid offices for Summer Work-Study awarding.
We understand that it may be difficult to plan ahead for the summer; if you need to make any updates to your application, let us know!
Timelines to consider
- The Summer Work-Study Job Directory opens in April.
- The Summer Work Study Program begins after Spring graduation in May and concludes in August. Please refer to the Summer Work-Study program webpage for specific dates.
- The deadline to find a summer Work-Study placement will be in mid-June. If you need an extension, please contact us.
Please note that University housing is not typically included with employment. If housing is provided, this information is usually noted in the job description.
If you have questions about the program, or require additional assistance in any way, contact the Work-Study program office.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I have multiple Work-Study positions?
You may have more than one on-campus Work-Study job, but only one off-campus Work-Study job.
If you have more than one Work-Study job you should:
- Notify your supervisors that you have another Work-Study job.
- Agree upon what portion of your award (dollar amount) will be earned in each job. If the positions have different hourly rates, this will affect the hours you work for one job over another.
- Agree upon the number of hours that you will work each week.
- Students cannot exceed a total of 20 hours per week while classes are in session, but can work more than 20 hours per week during official University breaks.
- Have your supervisors use the Work-Study Earnings Chart to help determine how many hours per week you may work throughout the hired program, given your Work-Study award amount.
- Carefully monitor your award balance using the Work-Study Award Information function on the Student Link Work tab, to insure that you do not work beyond your award amount.