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Types of Student Positions

The following types of student employee positions are addressed in this handbook: Work Study, Regular Wage, and International. Graduate Assistantships are uniquely administered and are not addressed here. Click here for more information about Graduate Assistants.

PSU student jobs are funded as either “Work Study” or “Regular Wage” positions and are paid through PSU’s Payroll unit. Regardless of funding source, all PSU student jobs are hourly positions, which are overtime eligible and require the submission of monthly time sheets authorized by the supervisors.   

Work Study positions are funded primarily through federal work study awards received by the student and administered through the Office of Financial Aid. Generally, the federal subsidy for these positions is approximately 90% of wages. Hiring departments may stipulate that positions are available to work study students only as a way of managing budgetary constraints.  However, such a recruitment qualification may limit student availability. Please see the section, “Federal Work Study Program”.

Regular Wage positions are fully paid by the hiring department without any financial aid subsidy.  These positions are made available based upon the department’s needs and budgets.

Combination Hourly Student Employee & Graduate Assistant - There are occasionally situations where students may hold Graduate Assistant (GA) positions earning tuition remission and a stipend, and also work in a PSU Regular Wage position on an hourly basis. GAs are not allowed to exceed .49 FTE as a PSU employee in any term, and are limited to working a total of 130 hours in the monthly pay period. 

Students and their supervisors must be mindful of the rules governing Graduate Assistants as well as the rules for hourly student employees.  It is critical that students working in this combination status understand that all hours worked are cumulative and count toward their maximum hours as Graduate Assistants and hourly student employees. Talk with your GAs about any other employment at PSU to avoid breaking the .49 FTE rule.

Federal Work Study Program

PSU encourages all units on campus to employ students as part of the staffing mix in their work groups. In addition to the positive impact of working on campus for the students, there are many benefits for the departments including a considerable cost savings when hiring students who are awarded Federal Work Study.

Federal rules and regulations regarding the Federal Work Study Program can be complex and may change from year to year.  Supervisors should contact the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships if any questions arise. Please visit the Financial Aid website for more information regarding Federal Work Study Program.

Although the subsidy ratio is subject to some change from year to year, on average Work Study covers 90% of the cost of qualified student wages. 

University departments employing Work Study Students must be mindful to adhere to the rules governing this Federal program.

  • Students have work schedule limitations and may never work more than 130 hours in any monthly pay period. 
  • Student employees may not be regularly scheduled for 40 or more hours per work week, except during academic breaks, but still may not total more than the 130 hours per pay period. 
  • The Federal Work Study Program (FWSP) does not authorize or pay for overtime, so if the FWSP employee works over 40 hours in one week, overtime will be charged 100 percent to the department.

Federal Work Study funding is extremely limited. The funds are allotted annually per student for a definitive amount.  Students and their hiring departments should discuss the distribution of the Work Study funding to determine an agreeable work schedule.  Controlling a student employee’s work hours per week will extend the amount of weeks a student can work in the course of the year.  When Work Study funds are exhausted, a decision must be made to continue work on a regular wage basis or discontinue the student employee position.  It is strongly recommended that departments and students carefully monitor the distribution of the Work Study funds over the course of the academic year in order to avoid any surprises regarding budget overages.   

Here are some details about the Work Study Program and the procedural steps for students: 

FAFSA forms: To receive Work Study funds, students must first complete the FAFSA application and qualify according to federal guidelines. The amount of financial aid is based upon a student’s Estimated Family Contribution and cost of attendance budget.  For information about the Federal Work Study Program, visit http://www.pdx.edu/finaid/work-study

Certificate of Eligibility: Students awarded Work Study must present a Certificate of Eligibility, available in the Office of Student Financial Aid, to their employer. 

Overtime not Covered:  The Federal Work Study Program (FWSP) does not authorize or pay for overtime, so if the FWSP employee works over 40 hours in one week, overtime will be charged 100 percent to the department.

Multiple jobs:  Students may hold multiple jobs on campus, however the cumulative number of hours a student may work on campus is limited to 130 hours per monthly pay period, regardless of the number of jobs a student holds.  It is the responsibility of the student employee to monitor the limit. However, it is advisable that supervisors talk with the student employee about the combined schedules and accumulating work hours.

Off-Campus Work-Study:  Often there are positions available with government and community service agencies that have signed contracts with PSU to provide Work Study employment for PSU students.  Students working in these specific off campus positions are considered PSU student employees. These positions are also listed through the office of Advising & Career Services. Please visit the Portland State University Career Connect website for off-campus work experiences.

Summer Term Work Study: Summer is considered the first term of the financial aid year. Students may be eligible to use their Federal Work Study Award during the summer. 

Advising & Career Services Web Site Listing: Work Study jobs are listed in the Career Connect section of the Advising & Career Services web site. Supervisors should post open positions through this online listing.