University of California, Santa Barbara

Federal Work-Study Program

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If you are an employer, please visit the Work-Study Employers section.

  • What is Work-Study?

    Federal Work-Study is a need-based form of Financial Aid that you earn through on- or off-campus employment and receive in the form of a paycheck.

  • Why Work-Study?

    The intent of the Federal Work-Study Program is to encourage your part-time employment and reduce the amount of loan debt incurred while attending college. Work-Study does so by paying a portion of your salary, thus making you a "better financial deal" for your employer.

  • How do I get Paid?

    Unlike other forms of Financial Aid that you may receive (e.g.: loans, grants, scholarships), your Work-Study award never credits to your BARC account. Your Work-Study award is paid directly to you, as it is earned, through a paycheck. Work-Study payroll cycles are two weeks long, from Sunday to the second following Saturday. A payroll check is issued approximately a week and a half later (e.g. WSP pay period February 3rd - February 16th; check date February 27th).

  • How do I Qualify?

    To qualify for a Work-Study award, a student must file a FAFSA prior to March 2nd and have sufficient financial need. Our office determines your Financial Aid eligibility and notifies you of your aid in a Financial Aid Award Letter, which may include a Work-Study award.

    Unit Load Requirement:
    Additionally, all qualifying Work-Study recipients must maintain a minimum study load of six (6) units each quarter. Students found to have registered below six units at the Census Date will not qualify for Work-Study funding during that quarter. The Census Date occurs one day after the last day to drop classes on Gold. On that date,the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships will take a snap-shot of your unit registration load in Gold. Employers will be notified immediately of changes to your Work-Study eligibility, which may result in the loss of employment. Employers have full discretion concerning whether to keep you employed or not. The Work-Study Unit will gladly re-instate Work-Study funding if you re-enroll in more units after the Census Date.

  • Was I Awarded Work-Study?

    Check your Financial Aid Award Letter on My Aid Status, Tab 4, to confirm your eligibility. If you do not have Work-Study or would like to increase your Work-Study award, please visit our forms section, complete the Work-Study Appeal form and submit it to our office for review.

    Please note, Work-Study is not a requirement to be hired for an on-campus position. Students that have not been awarded Work-Study are still encouraged to look for available positions on GauchoLink.

  • What is a Work-Study Referral? How do I Get One?

    Your Work-Study Referral is the document that verifies you are a Work-Study recipient and authorizes your (prospective) employer(s) to pay you with Work-Study funds. You must present a Federal Work-Study Program Referral to your employer(s) once you are hired. Work-Study Referrals are made available 10 days before the first day of Fall quarter instruction and to those award recipients that have either paid or deferred their Fall-quarter fees. You will be able to print your Referral from Tab 4 of My Aid Status or visit our office to receive a Referral.

  • How do I Find a Job?

    Both on-campus and off-campus employers advertise their available Work-Study positions on Gaucholink beginning September 1st. Students may also begin searching for positions September 1st. All students must have a UCSBNetID to log into GauchoLink to begin their job search. Access to GauchoLink is restricted to those students that are officially registered for classes at UCSB.

    If you find a job opening that interests you, just apply by whatever means is indicated on the job posting. Make sure to take some form of Work-Study eligibility to your job interview by printing your Financial Aid Award Letter. If and when you are hired, you must provide a Work-Study Program Referral to your employer for completion.

    Please note: the first official working day as a Work-Study employee is 10 days prior to the first day of fall instruction.

  • I Found a Job. How do I Get Hired?

    If you are hired for an on-campus position, your employer will:

    • Accept your Referral
    • Prepare and submit employment paperwork to our office
    • Provide you with a time sheet
    • Provide you with a job description
    • Work with you to create a work schedule
    • Train and supervise you, evaluating your job performance.

    If you are hired for an off-campus position, you must meet with a Work-Study Program administrator at our office and bring:

    • A completed Off-Campus Referral Packet that you picked up from the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships
    • An off-campus Referral signed by your employer
    • Employment Eligibility Identification. For a list of acceptable forms of identification, view the last page of the Form I-9 (PDF)
  • Can I Have More than One Work-Study Job?

    Yes. If you want to split your Work-Study among multiple Work-Study employers, visit our forms page and complete the Work-Study - Employer Change Request form. After you have completed the form, please submit it to our office for review.

  • Will My Work-Study Award Expire if I Don't Use It?

    You will have until the later part of Spring Quarter to find a job before unused Work-Study allocations are removed from your Financial Aid Award Letter. Your Work-Study will eventually expire if you do not secure employment. You may not carry forward your unearned Work-Study into Summer or the next academic year.

    Should you not secure employment or do not wish to use Work-Study funds, you may convert your unearned Work-Study eligibility to PLUS or Direct Loan eligibility. To do so, please visit our forms page to download the Work-Study Loan Conversion request form. After you have completed the form, please submit it to our office for review.