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University of Denver Financial Aid
Financial Aid 101: Work-Study and Student Employment Opportunities

There are many good reasons to work while attending the University of Denver: you'll minimize borrowing by earning money to help pay for college expenses, you'll gain valuable skills and experience, and many studies show that working while taking classes can actually improve your academic performance!

Most schools offer work-study to a percentage of students who apply for financial aid, and DU is no exception. If you were offered work-study, this email will help answer some of your questions about how the program works. Don't have work-study listed in your financial aid award letter? We'll offer some other options in this email as well.

What is work-study?
Work-study is a federally subsidized program that provides part-time jobs to help eligible students pay education expenses. It's not a grant or scholarship (because you must work to earn it), and it's not a loan (because you don't have to repay it).

Who is eligible for work-study?
Students who submitted the FAFSA by the February 15th priority deadline and demonstrate financial need may be offered work-study.

I was offered work-study in my financial aid award letter:

What kind of job can I get?
There are a wide variety of both on- and off-campus positions available to students with work-study. On-campus job categories include: Athletics and Recreation; Catering and Hospitality; Finance; General Office; Human Services; Laboratory; Legal; Library; Media/Theatre/Arts; and Research and Teaching Assistants. Some students choose instead to work off campus with a nonprofit organization.

Will I be placed into a specific job?
No. You will need to search, apply and interview for the position you want.

How much will I be paid?
Your hourly pay rate will depend on the type of work you do and the skills required for the position—there is no pre-set pay rate, and it is not contingent upon level in school.

How much can I earn?
First-year undergraduates can earn up to a maximum of $2,500 over the course of the 2015-16 academic year (the amount listed on your award letter). If you receive work-study as a sophomore, that amount will increase to $3,000. Your actual earnings will depend on your work schedule and hourly rate.

How will I get paid?
You will receive a paycheck every two weeks for the hours you worked. Just like any other part-time job, paychecks are sent directly to you or auto-deposited into your checking account (not credited to your DU tuition bill).

How many hours will I work each week?
You will build your hourly schedule with your supervisor; there is no minimum number of hours required. However, we do not encourage full-time students to work more than 20 hours per week.

Is there anything I need to do now?
Yes! If you know you will be attending DU in the fall and know you will want to utilize work-study, you must accept this award via PioneerWeb no later than July 1st. To do this, please follow the second step outlined in the Next Steps Checklist.

I was not offered work-study in my financial aid award letter:

The amount of funding we have available for this type of aid is extremely limited. In fact, only about 20% of our currently enrolled, eligible students have work-study. Therefore, many students who would otherwise be eligible won't have it offered as a part of their financial aid package. If you don't see work-study on your award letter—and you submitted the FAFSA by the priority deadline—chances are funding was depleted.

Is there a way I can get it?
If you have already committed to attending the University of Denver by submitting your admission deposit, you may ask to be placed on the work-study waitlist by sending an email to After July 1st, we will evaluate our funding level. If we have enough work-study funds available, we will begin to offer it to students on the waitlist.

What other work opportunities are there?

  • Student Employment maintains an online job board of off-campus positions in the greater DU and Denver area. These positions are available to all students, regardless of financial need or work-study eligibility. Pay rates range from $10-$20+ per hour, and many of these positions are within walking distance from campus.
  • Be sure to follow DU Student Employment on Facebook! Multiple part-time job opportunities are posted each week (many of which are not listed on the online job board).
  • As you progress through your studies at DU, the Career Center can also help you find internships that will help you become more competitive in the job market once you graduate.

Still have questions about work opportunities at DU? Contact Student Employment at 303-871-6792 or They're happy to help!

Up next week: Overview of Federal Student Loans

Want to review past Financial Aid 101 emails? Check out the archives!

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