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Washington State University
Academic Success and Career Center Cultivating Successful Scholars and Professionals

Student Employment

For many students, employment represents a major contribution toward financing their education. There are jobs available, both work-study and non work-study, ranging in pay, responsibility, and time commitments. It is possible for students who do not receive financial aid due to ineligibility or other circumstances to successfully find employment and pay for many of their educational expenses by working and earning a paycheck. Washington State University is committed to ensuring that all students are aware of opportunities that may be available to assist them in reducing their total debt upon graduation. Steady employment is an excellent alternative to loans and our role is to aid in the connection between employers and students so students can finance some of their education expenses while also obtaining valuable work experience.

Hear from Student Employee of the Year nominee Lexi Johnson as she explains some tips that led to her successful job placement after college, all based on her experience as a student employee with dining services.

How Can I Start Using Handshake?

Visit Students can login with their WSU Network ID and password. Employers can sign up for an account and add Washington State University as a recruitment school.

Need Help?

Please go to the Student Help Center and Employer Help Center to learn how to use Handshake. 

How to find a job:

Students have a Handshake account created for them using their Net ID and Password. All they have to do is log in to activate it. We recommend using your Net ID as it helps with inter-connectivity across campus.



As you apply for positions on Handshake, please be mindful of possible scams. We manually approve each job posted in the Handshake system to ensure that jobs are legitimate and beneficial opportunities. However, we still urge you to be on guard against possible scammers.

Remember, you should not give an individual sensitive personal information (including bank account information). You should also not deposit a check to your bank account that comes from a person you have only corresponded with online. In particular, you should not deposit a check or accept money from a person who offers to pay you a commission for accepting money transfers through your bank account. In this type of situation, it would most-likely be a scam attempt.

If you ever encounter a job or individual on Handshake that you have questions about or that you think may be fraudulent, please contact us by emailing or calling our office at (509) 335-6000.

We keep a careful watch on all jobs and employers processed through Handshake so we rarely see any scams come through the system. However, please use your best judgement as you apply for jobs online through Handshake as well as on any other jobs sites.

On-Campus Employment Tips

While the majority of on-campus jobs are listed on Handshake, occasionally departments will choose to list available positions on their specific departmental websites. To expand your job search it can be helpful to search within each department. Below are some on-campus departments that generally employ a large number of students annually:


University Recreation

Compton Union Building (CUB)

WSU Creamery

Don’t be afraid to get out there and ask departments if they are hiring or plan to hire in the future. Making this connection could potentially increase your chances of finding employment. In addition, if you have a work-study award relay this information to the potential on-campus employer, as it may make a difference in the type of employment opportunities available to you.

Off-Campus Employment Tips

Numerous local businesses use Handshake to advertise their available jobs and hire Washington State University students. Off-campus employers offer employment for students with or without work-study.

If you are new to your campus, you can reference the local Chamber of Commerce in your area for employment information where local businesses may have employment opportunities.

Another useful resource that can aid in your search for an off-campus job is Worksource, Washington’s official site for online employment services . Work Source is an employment search website that lists local jobs, many of which are appropriate for student employees.

Work Source

Work Study

What is Work-Study, and am I Eligible for It?

Work-study is a need-based financial aid award through the FAFSA process. It is neither a grant, as you must work to earn it, nor a loan, as you do not have to pay it back. However, funds are limited and you must have need eligibility determined from the FAFSA in order to receive work-study. Work-study never reduces grants or scholarships, only loans! Work-study funds are awarded to qualifying students to assist them in obtaining employment.

The work–study program subsidizes students’ wages. Work-study funds are used to reimburse a percentage of students’ gross pay but do not cover 100% of the wages. The gross pay comes from two sources; work-study funds plus employer funds. While the program serves as an incentive for employers to hire students it also creates jobs that would not otherwise exist. When the accumulated gross pay earned during the term reaches the work-study award limit, the work-study funding stops and the employers’ pay 100% of any wages earned that exceed the work-study award limit for the term.

Once a job is approved by student employment it is very similar to working any other type of job as you work a particular amount of hours at a certain pay rate and receive a paycheck for what you have earned. For the employer, the work-study program subsidizes a percentage of the student’s wages which make it appealing to hire students who are work-study eligible.

Eligibility: How Does Work-Study Fit into my Financial Aid Award?
To be considered for work-study a student must have:

  • A valid FAFSA filed on or before the published priority filing date
  • Indicate on the FAFSA he or she is interested in work-study
  • No problems with maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress
  • Have at least $4,000 of unmet need-based eligibility

Students will not see a work-study award on their financial aid award letter, but will be notified through a MyWSU portal notice if they are eligible, and included will be a link to the Work Study Authorization Form (WSAF). The student will then need to secure employment and both student and employer will complete their section on the WSAF as soon as possible, as the awarding of work-study funds is made on a first-come, first-serve basis. Once funding is exhausted, students and employers will be notified that all awards have been made. A WSAF does not guarantee a student work-study funding. Students seeking work-study after this point will be put on a waiting list in the Financial Aid office and if funding becomes available will be notified via email.

On and Off Campus Work-Study Employment
Work-study can be used on-campus or off-campus. When a student works on-campus, the student works for and is paid by WSU. When a student works for an off-campus employer, the student works for and is paid by an organization other than WSU.

On-Campus Work-Study Employment
Students who use their work-study on-campus work for a WSU department. They get paid by WSU twice per month on the 10th and 25th of each month. Students may have their paycheck mailed or can set up direct deposit with Payroll Services. On-campus employers please refer to the Supervisors Handbook for additional information on employing work-study students.

Off-Campus Work-Study Employment
Students may use their work-study off-campus if they work for an eligible off-campus employer. Students should not assume they can use their work-study with any off-campus employer. The off-campus employer must be eligible to participate in the Off-Campus Work-Study Program. The purpose of the Off-Campus Work-Study Program is to provide work experience directly related to student’s academic or vocational pursuits (RCW 28B312.010). Positions where the duties are not directly related to the student’s academic or vocational pursuits are not eligible for participation in the Off-Campus Work-Study Program. Non-profit, non-sectarian community service employers are always eligible to participate in the Off-Campus Work-Study Program. Students are encouraged to work for community service employers.

Students who are applying for off-campus work study will have additional requirements that will need to be met. Please contact Student Financial Services for more information on the requirements.

Links for Additional Information

Contact Us

Academic Success and Career Center
(509) 335-9107