Federal Work-Study

Students who receive Federal Work Study have the opportunity to obtain a job and perform related duties either on campus, or remotely, if possible and at the discretion of the employer. Students applying for Federal Work Study positions should clarify expectations with their potential employer regarding either on campus/in person or remote work arrangements. Federal Work Study does not guarantee a job position is available. Current federal guidance does not permit students to be paid for hours not worked, even if due to COVID-19.


To be eligible for Work-Study, you must:

Due to limited funding, not all students who are eligible will receive this award. If you are not awarded Work-Study, other employment opportunities are also available.

How to apply

To be considered for work-study, you must submit the FAFSA. If you are awarded work-study, it will appear on your Award Summary in LionPATH.

Work-study by exception

Students who were not initially offered work-study, but demonstrate federal financial need as determined by the Office of Student Aid, can be awarded by exception for a Community Service Federal Work-Study (CSFWS) or Nittany Lions Read/Nittany Lions Count (NLR/NLC) program position. Please confirm your eligibility with OSA before applying for a position or click on the links below for more information about how to get involved.

Check CSFWS Eligibility

Check NLR/NLC Eligibility

Types of Work-Study

There are three types of positions:

  1. Traditional Work-study - Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student's course of study.
  2. Nittany Lions Read/Nittany Lions Count - A mentoring program designed to enhance early reading, math, and science skills of children from surrounding communities, while providing Penn State students the opportunity to give back to their community, gain work experience, and earn federal financial aid through Federal Work Study.
  3. Community Service Work-study - Penn State Federal Work-Study that encourages eligible Penn State students to participate in community service and service-learning experiences that benefit the community, promote social responsibility, and enhance their educational experiences.

How to find a job

Work-study positions for all campuses are available on the Penn State job search website.

Apply for a work study position on the PSU HR website.

When you are hired for a position, your employer will provide and ask you to fill out the required forms.

Plan your work schedule

Work-study participants may never work more than eight hours a day (20 hours/week during fall, spring, and summer semesters). 

To ensure optimal use of your award through the semester, plan your work schedule before you begin earning funds. For example, undergraduate work-study students earning $9.50/hour who have a $1,750 award and work 20 hours/week, will have approximately 9 weeks of funding.

Track your hours worked

  1. You will receive a warning email regarding the balance of your award when you have earned 50% or more of your award total.
  2. You will receive a warning email when you are close to exhausting your award.

If you have more than one work-study job, you must keep each employer informed of your total hours worked so you do not exceed your award amount. Submitting falsified time cards is considered fraud against the University and the federal government and legal action may be taken against the employee or employer.

How you will be paid

Beginning with the 2022/23 academic year, undergraduate work-study students will typically earn $12.00/hour and graduate work-study students will typically earn $14:00/hour.  Nittany Lions Read/Nittany Lions Count and Community Service work-study students earn $14.00/hour.

Wages are direct-deposited into your checking or savings account every two weeks.

Earnings are not applied as credit on your tuition bill. Wages earned through work-study are reported as "Earned Income" on the FAFSA for the subsequent year and may be deducted as "Title IV exclusions."