What is Federal Work Study?

The Federal Work-Study Program provides employment opportunities for students who have demonstrated financial need by filing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Unlike other financial aid awards, work-study is paid to students in the form of a paycheck for hours worked. Students are paid from funds that the college receives from the U.S. Department of Education. The work-study award is part of the student’s financial aid package; therefore a student must reapply each year by completing a new FAFSA. There is no guarantee that a student will continue to receive a work-study award from one year to the next. Federal Work-Study funds are limited, so awards usually go to those applicants who complete the FAFSA early and demonstrate financial need.

It is important to know that a work-study award provides students with the potential to earn funds and is not a guarantee that the student will earn the entire amount awarded. Students must accept the award, find a job, and work hours to earn the award.

Work-study is a great opportunity to earn real, on-the-job training and is a way to obtain important pre-graduation work experience. Students should expect to treat work-study jobs as professional positions where they can develop skills, network in their fields, and build solid references for future employment. Work-study employees are vital to the University’s daily operations and are a valued part of our workforce.

We've included some of our Frequently Asked Questions on this page for more information about how work-study works.

What is Federal Work Study award and how does it work?

A Federal Work-Study award consists of an allocated amount of federal, need-based funds offered to qualifying students who have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Students’ eligibility for work-study depends on both the result of the FAFSA and the availability of work-study funds at UNK. If you have been awarded work-study funds, you will see it listed as part of your financial aid package in MyBLUE.

By accepting your work-study award in MyBLUE, you indicate that you are interested in using your work-study funds. After you accept the award, the UNK Office of Financial Aid will send you an email directing you to this website for further instruction. After reviewing the information on this website, you will need to seek out and apply for work-study jobs in which you are interested. Once hired, you will be paid your work-study earnings once every two weeks. Unlike other financial aid awards, the work-study funds will not be applied directly to your UNK bill, rather the funds you earn through work will be directly deposited to a bank account of your choosing.

To determine whether you are eligible for work-study, check your financial aid award in your MyBLUE account. If you are eligible, your work-study award will be listed along with your other financial aid. For questions about how to become eligible for work-study, contact the UNK Office of Financial Aid at (308) 865-8520 or finaid1@unk.edu.

If I have a Work Study award, will I be automatically assigned to a Work Study job?

No. To utilize your work-study award, you will responsible for seeking out, applying for, and being hired for a work-study job. If you have questions or difficulty in finding a work-study job, please contact the UNK Office of Financial Aid at (308) 865-8520 or finaid1@unk.edu for assistance.

What paperwork will I need to complete for my Work Study job?

When you secure a work-study job for the first time, you will be required to complete hiring paperwork, including a W-4 form, an I-9 form and a Direct Deposit form.

If I will be working at the same Work Study job I had last year, is there anything I need to do?

If you have made arrangements with your employer to continue working at the same work-study job you have had in the past, please complete the following steps:

  1. Check your MyBLUE account to be sure you have been awarded work-study! If you do not have a work-study award, contact UNK Office of Financial Aid at (308) 865-8520 or finaid1@unk.edu to determine whether you are eligible.

  2. Make contact with your employer to discuss your schedule and complete any required paperwork.

How will I get to and from my Work Study job?

Work-study positions require that you have reliable transportation to get to and from work. If you live on-campus and have an on-campus work-study position, you will likely be able to get to and from your job without the use of a vehicle. Off-campus work-study jobs will require that you have your own transportation to travel to and from work.

How much will I earn through my Work Study job?

Most work study jobs start at minimum wage ($9.00/hour), though some may pay more. The maximum amount you can earn during the academic year is the amount listed in MyBLUE as part of your financial aid package.

Will my Work Study award apply toward my UNK bill?

No, not directly. The work-study award amount that you see listed as part of your financial aid package in MyBLUE indicates the maximum amount of money that you can earn by working at a work-study position. The amount listed is the maximum amount of work-study funds you can earn during the full academic year (fall and spring semesters combined). The work-study award indicates your earning potential for the academic year. It is not money that will be available up front to help pay your UNK bill. You can use the work-study earnings as you choose, such as using the money toward living expenses, transportation, saving the funds to put toward next semester’s tuition or books, etc.

Once I begin working, how will I be paid?

After you begin working at a work-study job, your earnings will be paid to you by UNK once every two weeks. To view payroll schedules for Fall 2015 and Spring 2016 click here. Your earnings will be directly deposited into the bank account that you indicated on your hiring paperwork. You will be able to view your pay advices online using Firefly. Click here for information and instructions on navigating Firefly.

How will I be sure that my earnings don’t exceed my allocated Work Study funds?

It will be up to you and your employer to monitor your earnings throughout the academic year to be sure your earnings stay within the amount of your work-study award. If you end up going over your allocated amount, UNK will have to bill your employer for the amount that would have otherwise been covered by work-study funds.

Keep in mind, it is possible for the amount of your work-study award to change upon the receipt of additional information by the UNK Office of Financial Aid. The types of additional information that may affect your work-study award include changes to your FAFSA, receipt of additional scholarships, etc. If there is an adjustment made to your work-study award, the UNK Office of Financial Aid will notify you by email. The email will instruct you to log into MyBLUE to view your updated financial aid award.