What is Work Study?

The goal of student work-study programs is to promote part-time employment opportunities for students to provide them with job experience and help them pay for educational expenses. Duke University has two work-study programs:

  • Federal Work-Study (FWS) - Through this federal program the agency is reimbursed 90% of the student's earnings, and the remaining 10% is the agency's responsibility. 
  • Duke Work-Study (DWS) - Duke Work Study, is a university sponsored program which reimburses the agency 50% of the student earnings.  The remaining 50% is the responsibility of the agency.

The amount of work study reimbursement an agency will receive depends on the type of work study the student has been awarded. If an agency cannot afford to pay at least 50% of the wages, the job description they post should indicate that federal work study is required.

Process Overview:

  • If your agency is interested in participating in the student work study program, the first step is to submit your  request for participation using the Duke Office of Civic Engagement’s online form [https://duke.qualtrics.com/jfe/form/SV_cSVV4g7HK4v1Rwq]. 
  • After your agency has been approved by the Duke Office of Civic Engagement, you’ll receive an email from StudentEmployment@duke.edu with instructions for next steps (agreement form, training, system access, etc). 
  • Agency Rep must return the signed Agreement form to StudentEmployment@duke.edu. Once form is returned, an email will be sent with link for any user within the Agency to access training information.
  • Once the training information is reviewed users can apply for access to the JobX website.
  • When their access has been approved, they can post job(s) directly into JobX.  Job description & position information will be included in the posting(s) so please make sure all information is accurate.  Please do not use abbreviations that students may not be familiar with or other information students may not know.  The job description can be brief but should be appealing (we recommend providing salary information in the description--please see Duke's approved rate ranges below). 
  • Students will apply to the job directly through JobX.
  • The Agency will review the applications received for the position, interview students, and make their decision to hire through the JobX system.  We suggest you reach out to the student(s) you want to hire prior to closing the job in order to determine that they are still available.  The Agency can then begin their regular hiring process. 
  • Agencies will be reimbursed by the University for the work study portion of the pay the student(s) has earned.  The Student Employment office will send the Agency a reimbursement form that the Agency will need to complete and submit for reimbursement (a copy of the students pay stub and timesheet must also be included).   A check will be mailed to the Agency for reimbursement.

Work Study Program Rules and Regulations:

Students may work a maximum of 19.9 hours per week during academic periods and up to 39.9 hours during periods of non-enrollment. Students enrolled in one or more classes during the summer may only work up to 19.9 hours.

The Institution may remove the student from an Agency at its own initiative, or the Agency may terminate a student employee at any time.  All terminations must be submitted to the student in writing, informing the student of the Agency’s intentions.   Termination notice must be submitted to the student prior to the Institution reimbursing the Agency for any percentage of earnings.

The student is responsible for reporting to the Agency any changes in his/her work-study allocationThe institution is not liable for payments to students by the Agency that exceed the work-study allocation of the student employee.

No student will be denied employment or subjected to different treatment under the Agreement on the grounds of race, gender, religion, national origin, or sexual orientation.  The Agency must comply with the provisions of the Civil Rights Act of 1964    (Pub. L. 88-352, 78 State 252), and the Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Pub. L. 92-318).

Transportation for students to and from their place of employment will not automatically be provided by the Institution.  Transportation of students by Duke University will be provided as transportation is available.

The Agency is considered to be the employer.  It has the right to control and direct the services of the student, not only as to the result to be accomplished, but also as to the means by which the result is to be accomplished.  The Institution is limited to: verifying that students perform work for which they were paid, determining if the student employees meet the eligibility under the Federal Work-Study Program, and to managing the Work-Study funding and reimbursement program.

Compensation of students for work performed will be disbursed by the Agency and paid to the student at least once per month.

FWS Conditions & Limitations of Employment:

All FWS work, whether on campus or off campus, has certain conditions and limitations. FWS employment must be governed by those employment conditions. One of these conditions is an appropriate rate of pay, according to the type of work performed, the geographic region, the employee’s proficiency, and any applicable federal, state, or local law, including state or locally established minimum wage rates.

Establishing Wage Rates:

Undergraduate students are paid Federal Work-Study (FWS) wages on an hourly basis only. Graduate students may be paid by the hour or may be paid a salary. 

A school should determine the number of hours a student is allowed to work based on the student’s financial need and on how the combination of work and study hours will affect the student’s health and academic progress. 

FWS employers must pay students within Duke's stated guidelines. If a state or local law requires a higher minimum wage, the school must pay the FWS student that higher wage. You may not count fringe benefits as part of the wage rate and may not pay a student commissions or fees. In determining an appropriate rate, you must consider the following:

  • the skills needed to perform the job;

  • how much persons with those skills are paid in the local area for doing the same type of job;

  • rates the school would normally pay similar non-FWS employees; and

  • any applicable federal, state, or local laws that require a specific wage rate.

Minimum wage information:

Below are the current University rates for hourly student employees effective July 1, 2023.

Student Assistant-General $15.75/hr - $20.25/hr

Student Assistant-Specialized $16.75/hr - $23.25/hr

(Specialized ex: research assistant, advanced computer, technical work)

Below are the updated University rates for hourly student employees effective July 1, 2024:

Student Assistant-General $16.00/hr - $20.50/hr

Student Assistant-Specialized $17.00/hr - $23.50/hr  (Specialized ex: research assistant, advanced computer, technical work)  

FWS employment must not displace employees (including those on strike) or impair existing service contracts. Replacement is interpreted as displacement. Replacing a full-time employee whose position was eliminated (for any reason) with a student employee paid with FWS funds is prohibited. Moreover, this prohibition extends to instances where an agency first replaces the full-time employee with a student position paid with college funds.

FWS positions must not involve constructing, operating, or maintaining any part of a building used for religious worship or sectarian instruction. In determining whether any FWS employment will violate this restriction, a school should consider the purpose of the part of the facility in which the work will take place and the nature of the work to be performed. If the part of the facility in which the student will work is used for religious worship or sectarian instruction, the work cannot involve construction, operation, or maintenance responsibilities. If that part of the facility is not being used for religious worship or sectarian instruction, the school should make sure that any work the student will perform meets general employment conditions and that other limitations are not violated.

Neither a school nor an outside employer that has an agreement with the school to hire FWS students may solicit, accept, or permit the soliciting of any fee, commission, contribution, or gift as a condition for a student’s FWS employment. However, a student may pay union dues to an employer if they are a condition of employment and if the employer’s non-FWS employees must also pay dues.

The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, prohibits employers (including schools) from accepting voluntary services from any paid employee. Any student employed under FWS must be paid for all hours worked.

Working During Scheduled Class Time Prohibited:

In general, students are not permitted to work in FWS positions during scheduled class times. Exceptions are permitted

  • if an individual class is cancelled,
  • if the instructor has excused the student from attending for a particular day, and
  • if the student is receiving credit for employment in an internship, externship, or community work-study experience.

Any such exemptions must be documented.