Work-study is a type of need-based financial aid that allows you to work on campus or with an approved off-campus employer to earn money to help pay for educational expenses. It's not a grant (because you must work to earn it), and it's not a loan (because you don't have to repay it). In addition, work-study positions give you the opportunity to develop valuable skills and experience. Studies also show that working while taking classes can improve academic performance.
While most eligible students will be offered Federal Work-Study (which is funded by the U.S. Department of Education), Colorado Residents may be awarded Colorado Work-Study, which is funded by the Colorado General Assembly. Other than the source of funding, there is no difference between these types of work-study.
For a complete list of policies and eligibility requirements, please review the work-study policy guide.
- You must submit the FAFSA and meet general eligibility requirements for federal aid.
- You must have financial need as determined by the FAFSA.
- To be employed in a work-study job, you must have work-study included in your financial aid offer.
Note: Because work-study funding is limited, it's not included in all students' aid offers. Priority is given to those who applied for financial aid by the priority deadline.
If work-study wasn't included in your financial aid offer, you may request to be added to the waitlist by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pay Rate and Earnings
- Pay rate is tied directly to the job you obtain and depends on the experience and skills required for the position. It is not contingent upon year in college or the amount of work-study you have in your financial aid offer.
- The amount of work-study listed on your financial aid offer is the maximum amount you can earn for the academic year. Typically, new students can earn up to $2,500 in their first-year at DU, and 2nd-, 3rd- and 4th-year students can earn up to $3,000 each year.
- Students employed in a work-study position are paid every two weeks for hours worked in the form of a paycheck. Work-study earnings are not applied directly to the tuition bill.
- There are a wide variety of work-study positions available, each with the potential to dovetail with your education and develop skills that will serve you through your life. All available positions are posted in PCO, the job and internship listing site for DU students.
- Students are not placed in work-study jobs. You must search and apply for the positions you're interested in.
- Students with work-study may partner with nonprofits and government agencies that strive to enhance the quality of life for residents—especially low-income individuals—in the DU and Denver community. These positions enable students to engage in meaningful service that helps meet community needs. If you have work-study and are interested in working with a nonprofit, please email email@example.com.
Note: Students can only have one work-study funded position at a time. However, students may have more than one position if the additional positions are not funded through work-study.
Next Steps for Students With Work-Study
Was work-study included on your financial aid offer? Here's what you need to know:
Accept Work-Study in MyDU
In order to utilize work-study, you must first accept your work-study award through MyDU. To do so:
- Log in to MyDU.
- Click on the "Accept or Decline My Financial Aid Offer" link on your dashboard (this link will be in the "Financial Aid Information" box).
- Choose the 2023-2024 Aid Year from the drop-down menu.
- Go to the Terms and Conditions tab, read through, and click Accept.
- Then go to the Accept Award Offer tab, choose Accept from the drop-down menu next to your work-study award, and submit.
Find a Job
All available work-study positions—both on- and off-campus—are posted in PCO, the job and internship listing site for DU students. Most employers will not begin posting positions for the 2023-24 academic year until early June. To find and apply for a position:
- Log in to du.edu/pco.
- On your homepage, select OCI and Job Listings.
- At the top of the page, select the “Type of Job” filter and choose Student Employment: “On Campus” OR “Off-Campus”.
- Go to "add filter" and type in "compensation".
- Add this filter and select "work study funded".
Note: Students can only have one work-study-funded position at a time. However, students may have more than one position if the additional positions are not funded through work-study.
Complete the Hiring Process
Once you find a position, your supervisor will initiate the hiring process. All student employees at DU must complete a background check—you'll receive an email with further instructions once a background check request has been submitted. (Most returning students will not have to complete the background check if it's been less than 120 days since they last worked at DU.)
After the background check is complete, you will need to complete an I-9 and W-4 form with University Financial Services. When completing the I-9, you must provide proof of citizenship and show an original form of identification in person (photocopies will not be accepted). The most common acceptable citizenship identification documents include a U.S. Passport or a Driver's License and Social Security Card. See the full list of acceptable documents on page 3 of the I-9 form.
Forms, Resources and Dates
Forms & Resources:
- Work-Study Policy Guide
Learn about all the policies and procedures of the work-study program.
- Office of Student Employment
Find resources, timelines, and guidelines for all student employees at DU.
- Career & Professional Development
Get tips for writing your resume and cover letter, and help to prepare for an interview.
- November 21, 2023 - Last day students who are graduating at the end of fall quarter can work using work-study
- March 22, 2024 - Last day students who are graduating at the end of winter quarter can work using work-study
- June 13, 2024 - Last day students can work using their 2023-24 work-study
- Work-Study Policy Guide
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I study while at my work-study job?
No. You're expected to be fully engaged with the job you're being paid for.
Why wasn't I offered work-study?
The amount of funding we have available for this type of aid is extremely limited. In fact, only about 20 percent of our currently enrolled, eligible students have work-study. Therefore, many students who would otherwise be eligible won't receive an offer as a part of their financial aid offer. If you don't see work-study on your offer letter, chances are that funding is depleted. If you choose to attend DU and submit your admission deposit, you may contact us to submit your name to the work-study waitlist.
Are international students eligible for work-study?
Because work-study is a type of federal financial aid, you must be a U.S. citizen or eligible noncitizen to qualify. Per federal regulations, nonimmigrant students on an F-1 or F-2 nonimmigrant student visa, or on a J-1 or J-2 nonimmigrant Exchange Visitor Visa, do not qualify for work-study positions.
Learn more about eligibility for federal aid on the Federal Student Aid website.
- Can international students apply for part-time jobs that don’t require work-study?