Work-Study: Students' Frequently Asked Questions

Only undergraduate and graduate students who have Work-Study as part of their financial aid package are eligible to obtain a Work-Study job. Check your financial aid through calcentral.berkeley.edu to see if you have Work-Study. Note: any questions regarding your financial aid package should be directed to a financial aid counselor, not the Work-Study office.

1. The most important question! What is the hiring/referral process?
19. When is the last day that I can find a job?
2. What is Work-Study? 20. Are there any restrictions with Work-Study jobs?
3. Who is eligible for Work-Study jobs? 21. Can any employer be a Work-Study employer?
4. Can graduate students receive Work-Study? 22. How many hours per week do I need to work?
5. How can I get the most out of the Work-Study program? 23. Will a job hurt my studying time?
6. How can I get Work-Study as part of my financial aid/ increase the amount of Work Study in my award? 24. How can an athlete balance their commitments?
7. Why did my Work-Study amount decrease? 25. Once hired, do I have to stay in that job?
8. Do I need to accept loans to convert them to Work-Study? 26. Can I work more than one job simultaneously?
9. What does my Work-Study dollar amount mean? 27. How much does a Work-Study job pay?
10. Is it possible to exeed the limit of $4000 in work-study per year? 28. Do my earnings go to CARS?
11. Is Work-Study mandatory, do I have to get a job? 29. How do I get paid and how often?
12. If I don't work do I have to give the money back? 30. Is my paycheck taxable?
13. Do I have to work at a Work-Study job? 31. Who do I contact about payroll questions (e.g. deductions, Defined Contribution Plan)?
14. Am I assigned a job by the Work-Study office? 32.How do I receive my W-2 form?
15. How do I find a Work-Study job? 33. Can I work after the last day of the Spring semester?
16. When can I begin applying to jobs? 34. What happens on the last day of the Spring semester?
17.What type of Work-Study jobs are available? 35.Is there summer Work-Study?
18. Will I find a job relating to my intended major/career? 36.Can I keep working if I'm not enrolled or graduate?


1. What is the hiring/referral process?
When hired by an employer, your Work-Study is activated and applied to that specific job through the referral process:.

If you have a Work-Study award as part of your financial aid and there are no blocks on your registration, the employer
1. Logs-in to their area of the Work-Study web: http://workstudy.berkeley.edu
2. Selects "Jobs" and then "Job Listings"
3. Scrolls down, finds the job in question, and selects the 10-digit job number (far left)
4. Scrolls down and selects "Refer student to this job" enters your Student ID (SID) and follows the prompts

You'll then log-in to your area of Work-Study to accept or decline the job offer. Once that's done, confirmation emails are sent.

If this is an additional Work-Study job during a program year, once the employer has referred you (steps 1-4 again), you will log-in and determine how to split your Work-Study between the jobs. Remember to leave enough money in each job to cover 100% of your past and, if any, future earnings.

Your referral is good from the first of the referral month until either you are no longer enrolled (graduating in December, for example) or until the last day of the spring semester.

Very Important: While there is a grace period back to the first of each month, referrals cannot be back-dated beyond that and any time worked prior to the first is not Work-Study. The employer is responsible for 100% of the student's earnings, and the student's non-Work-Study earnings are treated as additional income on the FAFSA.


2. What is Work-Study?
Work-Study is a federally-subsidized hourly wage job program. For example, if a department pays you $10/hr., it costs their budget a net of $5/hr. There are three advantages for the Work-Study student:
1. The subsidy makes you a highly sought-after employee.
2. Work-Study earnings do not count against your aid eligibility when you fill out next year's FAFSA.
3. Work-Study gives you the opportunity to earn part of your college costs rather than increase your loans. The less debt you graduate with, the more choices you'll have in life.

3. Who is eligible for a Work-Study job?

Students who receive financial aid from UCB and have Work-Study as part of their financial aid package.

4. Can graduate students receive Work-Study?

Possibly if they receive financial aid from UCB. Graduate students should review calcentral.berkeley.edu to see if they can convert loans to Work-Study.

5. How can I get the most out of the Work-Study program?
Big picture: Work-Study jobs give you an edge to help pay for college and graduate with less debt.
Bigger picture: Work-Study jobs help you develop your resume, network with employers, obtain major/career-related work, and assist you in becoming a savvy, aggressive job hunter.
Biggest picture: One day, "x" number of years from now, you'll be in a position to set-up a contract with UC Berkeley's Work-Study office and save your company/organization money by reaching back and hiring your fellow Cal Bears! Your Work-Study experience will have traveled full-circle.


6. How can I get Work-Study as part of my financial aid, if it's not part of my original offer?

Follow these steps via https://calcentral.berkeley.edu

1. Log-in to https://calcentral.berkeley.edu with your Cal-Net ID.
2. On the left sidebar, click Award Detail.
3. If your Financial Aid award says "Confirmed" move onto step 4. If your award says "Conditional" you must first check your messages and ensure that required documents are in order so that your award can be processed and confirmed. You cannot obtain a Work-Study job while your offer is "Conditional."
4. On the left, click "Convert Work-Study to loans."
5. You will then see the dollar amount of eligible loans that you can convert into Work-Study. Enter the desired dollar amount, using only digits (no symbols), that you wish to convert from loans into Work Study.

Once you have entered the amount of loans you wish to convert to Work-Study, it will take one business night (Mon- Thurs) for you to be able to log onto http://workstudy.berkeley.edu to search for jobs. If you make changes Friday-Monday, you will not be able to log onto the Work-Study website until Tuesday morning.


7. Why did my Work-Study amount decrease?
Work-Study can decrease because financial aid in another area increased, e.g., an outside scholarship check arrived. Your financial aid package is a zero sum game, you can't receive more financial aid than you're eligible for. Or it decreased because you requested that it be converted to a loan. Or it decreased because you withdrew, were dismissed, or graduated (students who are not enrolled cannot continue in their Work-Study position). Students who are on academic probation may have their Work-Study eliminated.
8. Do I need to accept loans to convert them to Work-Study?
No, if you plan on converting loans to Work-Study, it is best to leave that amount as "Offered" and not as "Accepted." You can accept a lesser amount and hold the difference in reserve to convert to Work-Study.

9.What does my Work-Study dollar amount mean?
If your financial aid includes the initial maximum of $4,000 in Work-Study, that is the total amount you can earn in a Work-Study position (it takes into account both the Work-Study share and the employer's share, anything earned over your $4,000 limit is 100% owed to you by the employer). Your financial aid offer splits it into $2,000 fall and $2,000 spring but as far as Work-Study is concerned, you can earn any or all of that amount at any point during the program year (June 1st until the last day of the spring semester) while enrolled and as long as you are going to be enrolled for both semesters.
10. Is it possible to exceed the undergraduate limit of $4000 of work study per year?
Yes. If you have eligible loans and you have earned 70% or more of that $4000 you may see an option to request up to $2000 more through calcentral.berkeley.edu. Note, until those earnings are in the system, you will not see that option. If you know you have additional loans eligible to convert (i.e., subsidized loans), make sure you do not accept the amount that you plan on converting.

11. Is Work-Study mandatory, do I have to get a job?
No. We just don't want you with bills in the fall or spring and not having the money to pay. You may have the option of converting your Work-Study to loans. If you do not use Work-Study, it is less likely you'll receive it as part of your financial aid the following year.

12. If I don't work do I have to give the money back?
Since you don't receive the money until you earn it, and you can't earn it without having a Work-Study job, there is no money to give back. The answer is "no."

13. Do I have to work at a Work-Study job?
No. You may, however, want to see a financial aid counselor to discuss how, if at all, that non-Work-Study money might affect your next year's financial aid package. One of the advantages of Work-Study is the earnings are not counted as additional income on your FAFSA.

14. Am I assigned a job by the Work-Study office?
Noooooo! Given your varying qualifications and schedules, that would be a logistical nightmare. It would probably upset you ("I'm worth more per hour than that!"), upset the employer ("You sent us a very shy individual to give campus tours?"), and cause misery all around. Students with Work-Study apply to Work-Study jobs just as they would any job, usually with a resume (to increase your chances of getting an interview, include a cover letter) and after an interview. The employer chooses how students apply and the employer does the hiring through the referral process.

15. How do I find a Work-Study job?

1. Go to the Work-Study web site: http://workstudy.berkeley.edu
2. Select "Student Log-In via Cal-Net" (upper left-hand corner)
3. Select "Job Listings"
4. You can search for a particular job category or you can sort according to the job headings. "Rate" is the most popular sort option. Click once, lowest to highest, click again, highest to lowest. But here's a better job tip: do a comprehensive search first, going through all the jobs listed and apply to any and every job that interests you. The next day, log-in and click the heading "Posted On" once and click it a second time. That will sort the selection according to the latest jobs posted and save a lot of time.
5. For job details, click on the 10-digit job number (far left).

Note: some students review the "Qualifications" and say, "oh, they want blah blah. I don't know blah blah. That rules me out..." In other words, they focus on reasons not to apply. Focus on reasons to apply. The employer may be willing to train you in an area where you don't have experience, especially if it says "prefer blah blah experience." Of course, if it states "Must have blah blah experience..." you'd be right in not applying. Too many students however, read "prefer" as "must have."


16. When can I begin applying to jobs?
When you have Work-Study in your Financial Aid package. If uncertain, check your financial aid through calcentral.berkeley.edu. Whenever you begin, speed is crucial in the job hunt. Imagine an employer posts the job and the same day receives a resume and cover letter addressing their specific position. Very impressive! Also, do not wait to hear from one employer before applying to other positions. While you're waiting to hear from that employer, those other positions are getting filled.


17. What type of Work-Study jobs are available?
Far too much of a variety, both on and off campus, to list here. A quick way to see is to sort the job listings by clicking on the heading "Working Title." Note: if you have Work-Study, always view the job through your log-in area. Select "Student Log-In via Cal-Net" (upper left-hand corner). The "public" view hides information needed to apply to the job.

18. Will I find a job relating to my intended major/career?
We encourage students to apply to their major/career-related job, and we have an extensive off-campus employer presence to provide more opportunities for students. For freshmen, we advise that you not worry about that major-related job your first year at Cal. You could be competing with upperclassmen and grad students, and it is a transition year for you (putting it mildly). Your academics come first.

Consider what works well with your schedule and pays well. Also, think in terms of networking. If you want to work in a particular major-related area but don't have the required course work yet, see if you can get any kind of job in that department. Do a great job and make contacts. Networking, networking, networking. Those major/career-related jobs will come.


19. When is the last day that I can find a Work-Study job?
Work-Study positions are available throughout the year except between the last day of the spring semester and June 1st. From mid-August to early September the number of available jobs peak between 250-300 listings per day, many with multiple positions. At the beginning of the spring semester, a smaller peak occurs and just before summer the number of positions increase again. In between you'll usually see about 100 job listings. If you click the "Begin Date" heading twice, you'll see jobs posted weeks/months in advance.


20. Are there any restrictions with Work-Study jobs?
Yes, federal regulations restrict Work-Study from being used to:
1. Displace a regularly-hired or budgeted employee - for instance, we can work with for-profit companies, but the job needs to be created for a student and be directly related to a student's major/career goals. Summer internships are great for that. On the other hand, we couldn't allow an employer to hire the subsidized Work-Study student as part of its counter help, because the employer would be displacing a regularly hired/budgeted employee.
2. Promote organizations that limit/restrict membership, such as a union.
3. Campaign for a political candidate or issue
4. Lobby legislatures
5. Recruit members for a religious organization or construct/maintain a religious building
6. Work outside the United States unless with a branch of the campus or the U.S. government (an embassy, for example)

If you're ever uncertain, check with us first.


21. Can any employer be a Work-Study employer?
Any campus employer can be a Work-Study employer. And we work with off-campus employers who set-up a contract with us. We have the largest off-campus presence of any Work-Study program in the country ranging from Juneau, Alaska to NYC to Washington, D.C. To view UCB's off-campus employers, select:

Off-Campus Employers

At the bottom of that site are four easy-to-copy-and-paste-to-send-in-an-email steps for a new employer to contract with the Work-Study office. Here's what it says:

(Student Intro to Your Employer Contact Here - and 'cc wsp@berkeley.edu)

The incentive for employers to hire Work-Study students is the hourly wage subsidy Work-Study provides. This works out to be either a 50%-50% or 55% (Work-Study) - 45% (employer) for non-profit/government organizations, and a 40% (Work-Study) - 60% (employer) for for-profit businesses. Completion of the following steps are what's necessary for a Cal Work-Study student to begin working at a cost-saving rate.

1. Employer: Contractual Agreement - All off-campus employers who wish to have UCB Work-Study students work at their site must have a current, active, and signed contractual Agreement package with the Work-Study office. The contract for non-profit/government organizations or for-profit businesses can be found at the following links. The contract package can be filled out on-line, then printed and signed, and mailed to us by the employer. Please note the checklist to make sure the packet is complete.

Nonprofit/government contract package: http://workstudy.berkeley.edu/contract_Non-Profits.htm

For-profit contract package: http://workstudy.berkeley.edu/contract_For-Profits.htm

2. Employer: Job Request - Once an off-campus employer's Agreement package has been received, approved, and processed by the Work-Study Office, the employer is emailed a User ID and Password to register/post a Job Request through the Work-Study web site. The Job Request is very important, (even if the employer has a student pre-selected for a job), because it enters the position into the Work-Study system. This is a very simple process, but without a Job Request, Work-Study funds cannot be applied to the position.

3. Student: Award - Before being referred through the Work-Study Office for hiring, the student must have Work-Study as part of their Financial Aid package. Students can view the details of their Financial Aid package online through BearFacts.

4. Employer/Student: Job Referral - When a student is hired, the employer refers the position to the student by logging into their area of the Work-Study web and

a) Selects "Jobs" and then "Job Listings"
b) Scrolls down, finds the job in question, and selects the 10-digit job number (far left)
c) Scrolls down and selects "Refer student to this job" enters the Student ID (SID) and follows the prompts

The student will then log-in to their area of Work-Study to accept or decline the job offer. Once that's done, confirmation emails are sent.

If this is an additional Work-Study job during a program year, once the employer has referred the student (steps a-c again), the student will log-in and determine how to split their Work-Study between the jobs. Remember to leave enough money in each job to cover 100% of your past and, if any, future earnings.

Please note, any earnings by a student prior to the completion of this process not considered Work-Study, and thus cannot receive the rate subsidy. Never hesitate to call or email if you have any questions.

wsp@berkeley.edu
510.642.6872

Work-Study Programs
250-D Sproul Hall
UC Berkeley
Berkeley, CA 94720-1962
http://workstudy.berkeley.edu/


22. How many hours per week do I need to work?
It depends on the hourly wage. For example, if you have $3,000 in Work-Study for the academic year and you find a $10/hr. job, figure on 3 months of solid work for the Fall: Sept., Oct., and Nov. to earn $1,500. That's $500 per month ($1,500/3), which equals $125/week ($500/4), which equals 12.5 hours per week of work ($125/$10/hr.). This, by the way, is right in the optimum range of hours to work during the week while going to school. A national study showed that students who work 10-15 hours per week have a higher graduation rate than the overall student body. However, the graduation rate begins to decline as the number of hours worked increases above 15 and students who try to work more than 20 hours per week and go to school full-time have the highest dropout rate.

23. Will a job hurt my studying time?
It takes time management but it can be done. Money savvy students are preferring to work part-time or full-time during the summer rather than take out more loans. A few years ago a student who worked 15 hours per week each semester, was involved in extra-curricular activities, and had a great GPA, told us her secret: "no TV."

24. How can an athlete balance their commitments?
Check with your coach to see if there are Work-Study positions related to your sport or within the athletic department. If not, search for jobs with multiple positions to see if you can find something that may allow absences because others can cover for you. Another option is to search for jobs wherein the employer is looking for short term commitments such as assistance for a one-day or weekend conference.


25. Once hired, do I have to stay in that job?
You can leave a job. You want to try to do it on good terms, give two weeks notice, and never take any displeasure out on your job duties. But if you have to quit on short notice, quit. Do not, however, include that 3-day job on your resume or include that supervisor on a list of references (it is highly unlikely you'd get a good reference!).

Think in terms of the big picture: you don't want to wake up in a cold sweat one night fifteen years from now, wondering if your life would be different, if your career would be different, if you'd gotten into a better grad school, if your GPA as an undergrad had been higher, if you'd had a higher grade in that one class, if you had more time to study for the midterm instead of giving in to an unsympathetic employer who demanded that you work.

Conversely, employers are not obligated to keep you employed if you are not performing your job duties.


26. Can I work more than one job simultaneously?
Work-Study does not limit students according to hours or jobs. As long as you haven't earned your award amount, you can split it between two or more jobs. For campus positions the university usually limits students to a maximum of 20 hours per week (adding up all your campus jobs) during the fall and spring semesters. Check with the hiring department's payroll administrator.

27. How much does a Work-Study job pay?
From minimum wage to upwards of $20+/hr (usually graduate student positions). Employers set the rate and the highly skilled/greater responsibility jobs tend to pay more.

28. Do my earnings go to CARS?
No, they go into your pocket in the form of a paycheck. You will need to budget it toward your college costs.


29. How do I get paid and how often?
You are paid directly by the department or your off campus employer. Off-campus employers pay according to their own schedule. In a campus position, you are paid once per month on the 6th business day of the following month (usually the 8th).

With a campus position you will have a choice to receive payment via direct deposit/Electronic Fund Transfer or an ADP TotalPay Card. Any payroll questions need to be directed to your payroll person where you work. The Work-Study office is not part of the payroll process.

To sign up for direct deposit/Electronic Fund Transfer:

http://controller.berkeley.edu/financialAccounting/Forms/disb/EFTInstructions.htm

If you do not want direct deoposit, below is information about the TotalPay Card program, as well as a link to more information.

TotalPay® Card Transactions Fees and Services

No Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) charge as long as the Allpoint logo and name is on the ATM.
ATM withdrawals (non-Allpoint machines) $2.00 each
ATM declined transactions (if you don't have enough money on your card) $0.50 each
ATM balance inquiry (each time you request a balance) $0.50 each
ATM international use fee $2.00 each
ATM decline and balance inquiry when used internationally $0.50 each Free Over-the-counter cash withdrawals at participating Visa® member bank (ask bank if uncertain).
First withdrawal per pay period Free
Additional withdrawals thereafter $5.00 each
Point-of-sale transactions Free
Fund transfers to another U.S. bank account (via telephone or internet):
--First two transfers per month Free
--Additional transfers thereafter $2.00 each

TotalPay® Card Online services:

Bill pay service Free
Monthly statements Free
Balance inquiries, transaction history, etc. Free
Daily balance alert text messages to your mobile phone Free
Monthly statements online or by mail Free
Copies of previous months' statements mailed to you $1.50 each

24-hour customer service:

Automated phone service (877) ADP-4321
First four calls per month Free
Additional calls thereafter $0.50 per call

Customer service representative:

First call per month Free
Additional calls thereafter $2.00 per call
International money transfer $5.00 + currency conversion
Secondary card issuance (all fees associated with the primary card are applicable to the secondary card) $1.50
Overdraft fee $10.00
Card replacement fee $10.00
Expedited card delivery (in addition to card replacement fee) $13.00

Additional information:

One free over-the-counter withdrawal from any Visa® member bank per pay period. You may withdraw up to the full amount of your pay or current balance on your card.
Point-of-sale purchases. Anytime you use your Visa® debit card for a point-of-sale purchase (i.e., grocery or department stores) there is no fee. You can also request cash back without fees.
Free ATM withdrawals when using ATM machines that display the name and logo of Allpoint. If you do not use an Allpoint ATM, fees will be assessed. These fees vary by network and will be displayed on the screen.
Online bill pay service. Eliminates the need to buy cashiers checks or money orders.
Two free internet access money transfers per month to other accounts.
Daily balance alert text messages to your mobile phone. Standard text messaging fees may apply from your carrier.
Monthly statements online or by mail.
Online self service including balance inquiries, transaction history, and Visa® bill pay services.
First four calls per month to automated customer service are free.
First call each month to a customer service representative is free.
No monthly maintenance fees.

http://controller.berkeley.edu/payroll/PayOptions/index.htm


30. Is my paycheck taxable?
Yes, Work-Study earnings are taxed. Besides Social Security and other applicable taxes, how much is deducted from your paycheck depends largely, when hired, on how you fill out your W-4 form. This relates to "withholding" tax. Read the W-4 form instructions carefully to determine whether you're "Exempt" or not. Also note, off-campus employers are obligated to deduct FICA taxes, on-campus jobs are not unless it's summer work. Your calendar year earnings generate a W-2 form for your tax return.


31. Who do I contact about payroll questions (e.g. deductions, Defined Contribution Plan)?

The payroll person where you are employed. The Work-Study office is not part of the payroll process.


32. How do I receive my W-2 form?

W-2's are usually delivered to employees in January. If working off-campus and being paid directly by your employer, your employer provides the W-2 form to you. If paid by the University, you can also view and print the form using the following steps:

1. Go to http://atyourserviceonline.ucop.edu
2. Create a user name and password
3. On the right side of the screen, under Income & Taxes click W-2

Questions regarding your campus W-2 form should be directed to the payroll office.


33. Can I work after the last day of the Spring semester?
There are no Work-Study-subsidized jobs between the last day of the spring semester and June 1st. If the employer allows you to work during that time, they are responsible for 100% of your earnings.

If you have Work-Study as part of your Financial Aid for the following Fall semester, the employer can repost/register the job through our web site to reflect the new program year via a June 1st or later Begin Date and refer you to the position. This is because you receive a new financial aid award each year and possibly Work-Study as part of that award. The new award needs to be activated, applied to the specific job, and tracked for our federal audits. New and continuing students can begin earning their Fall Work-Study award as early as June 1st.


34. What happens on the last day of the spring semester?
The Work-Study program year is over. Any Work-Study award amount left unearned is gone. It does not carry over into your financial aid for the next program year.


35. Is there summer Work-Study
No. There is not summer-specific Work-Study. However, new/continuing students can begin earning their Fall Work-Study award as early as June 1st.


34. Can I keep working if I'm not enrolled or graduate?
Not as Work-Study. If you withdraw, are dismissed, or graduate, you cannot continue in a Work-Study position. It ends on the last day of your enrollment. If an employer wants to keep you and pay you 100% of your earnings without the Work-Study subsidy, that is between you and them, but it is not Work-Study employment. You must notify your employer of your change in enrollment

 
If your question wasn't answered here, email the Work-Study office, we're happy to assist! wsp@berkeley.edu