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Work Study - FAQ

Work Study is a work experience program coordinated through the Career Center office. Eligibility for Work Study is determined by the student's financial need and considered part of his/her financial aid award package. Student's must be enrolled in at least 6 credits to be able to participate.

Federal Work Study (FWS) jobs are generally on-campus and State Work Study (SWS) jobs can be either on or off campus. You receive your work study award in the form of a paycheck.

  • Federal Work Study jobs are paid the current state minimum wage per hour and are paid twice a month.
  • State Work Study jobs are career-related positions and the employer determines your hourly wage and how often you are paid.

The Career Center is available to assist students in identifying on-campus and off-campus opportunities.  However, the final choice to hire students is up to the employer or supervisor. As in the real world of work, students will compete for positions and must prove to the employer/supervisor that they are the best candidate for the job. (Information on resume writing and interviewing skills is available online or can be made available for students who feel they need extra assistance.  Students can visit the Career Center, HSS Building, room 205, and pick up this information).

In order to be referred to any work study job, you must be referred by the Career Center. If you are interested in career-related off-campus (SWS) state work study, you must make an appointment with a Career Center staff member, who will assist you in identifying an off-campus career-related work study employer.

A variety of Federal and State Work Study positions can be found in the Career Center online database, https://app.purplebriefcase.com/pb/account/login?s=olympic.

All students are awarded college work study (FWS) when their award letter is first issued; but they are also eligible for (SWS) state work study. In order to receive state work study (SWS), however, a student must first be hired into a state work study position that they have been approved through the Career Center Office. Once that placement is confirmed, SWS positions are subject to the availability of funds.

Students are limited to work no more than 19 hours per week while class is in session and up to 40 hours per week during breaks (if award amount has not yet been fully expended). The amount of the student's quarterly award (based on his/her financial need) determines the number of hours that the student is eligible to work. Most students work 10-19 hours per week. Any hours worked beyond 19 hours will not be considered Work Study earnings and the employer will not be reimbursed for any portion of those wages.

Olympic College receives a designated amount of money from the federal government for FWS and a designated amount from the state government for SWS. What this means is that a student who chooses to postpone their work study employment until winter or spring quarter may find that the campus has already obligated their funding for the year and no additional work study positions will be made available after fall quarter. This is not always the case, however, and it's important to check with the Financial Aid Office to see whether or not funding is still available.

Work study positions are limited to 19 hours per week and do not provide benefits. Each student needs to decide what is best for them and their own personal financial needs. There is no penalty for not participating in work study and if a student determines that it is in their best interest not to participate, then they may decline their award without any fear of losing the remainder of their financial aid package.

Students who are receiving DSHS funds should communicate their desire to participate in the Work Study program to their DSHS case manager. Work Study earnings should not impact the amount of funding that the student receives in their DSHS grant; but it may impact their child care and food stamps. In order to predict any possible reductions, the student should be in close contact with their DSHS case manager. If the DSHS case manager has any questions regarding Work Study they are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office.

In some cases students may also receive credit for their Work Study experience. Discuss this possibility with the Career Center, (360) 475-7480.