Welcome to Work-Study!
As part of your financial aid package, work-study jobs provide an amazing opportunity to:
Earn part of your college costs rather than increase your loans.
Decline and reduce the loan amounts offered to you.
Remember that the less debt you graduate with, the more choices you'll have in life!
When you take full advantage of work-study opportunities, you will:
Gain valuable job skills and experiences.
Build your resume and learn to write a dynamic, job-specific cover letter.
Find major-related work for an edge on graduate school applications or a career job search.
Meet students, work with professionals, and expand your social and career networks.
Be more confident talking to recruiters at job fairs.
Become an aggressive, savvy job hunter.
Here’s an example of what’s possible:
“I just wanted to thank you for all of your help with answering my work-study questions over the past four years and with converting my loans to work-study. Thanks to the work-study program, I am graduating debt free! Go Bears!”
How did this student do it?
She didn’t accept all loans offered.
She managed her money very carefully. (Check out our Bears for Financial Success page for money management tips!)
She took advantage of work-study allowing students with a fall semester award to begin working as early as June 1 (you do not have to be enrolled in summer classes). This allowed her to work up to 40 hours per week over the summer.
And the news got better. A follow-up revealed this student had a full-time job offer after graduation from the off-campus work-study employer where she worked!
Why a Work-Study Job Over a Non-Work-Study Job?
You're a highly sought-after employee, because work-study saves employers money! If a department pays you $13/hour, it costs the employer $6.50/hour. That subsidy is what makes work-study a financial aid program.
Work-study earnings don't count against your aid eligibility when you fill out next year's Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Non-work-study earnings are considered “additional income” on the FAFSA and may affect your financial aid package.
How Can I Tell If I Am Eligible?
Make sure you have work-study by logging into CalCentral. If you don’t have work-study, you may be able to convert some of your student loans to Work-Study eligibilty by following the instructions. If the amount available to convert is greater than $0, then you’ve got eligible loans to convert!
What Kinds of Jobs Are Available?
If you want to view job listings without logging in (but you’ve got to log-in to see details, such as “How to Apply” or who to apply to, so you must have work-study as part of your financial aid), use this link.
How Much Can I Earn?
Like any job, wages can range from minimum wage to upwards of $20-plus/hour. Employers set the rate and jobs that require higher responsibilities or skills tend to pay more.
You are paid directly by your employer and while your earnings go directly to you, you still are responsible for paying any outstanding bills in your account.
The UC Berkeley Career Center provides a number of services, including:
Writing an effective resume and cover letter
Finding an internship
Assistance for students with disabilities
If you are not eligible for work-study, the Career Center's job search lists non-work-study positions
Public Service Opportunities
UC Berkeley’s Public Service Center provides several programs for students wanting to get involved in the community and make a difference. Here are three examples, some of which are work-study jobs:
Alternative Breaks Program students take week-long trips over winter or spring break to diverse communities and learn about a range of social issues, such as homelessness, poverty, immigration, health care, sustainability, and more.
The BUILD Literacy Tutoring Program is a large K-12 outreach program. BUILD is part of America Reads, a national campaign that challenges everyone to help all children learn to read, including English-language learners and students with disabilities.
Cal in the Capital is a student-managed internship program preparing dozens of Berkeley students for challenging summer internships in Washington, D.C.
Before beginning your work-study journey, please read the work-study Frequently Asked Questions page. You’ll learn how to get the most out of the program!