Work Study Information for Mentors

Using Work-Study to Do Research at Duke - Info Mentors Need to Know!

Information about paying Undergraduates through Work Study can be found here: 

What you need to know: 

  • Almost all Duke students can apply for work study and will either qualify for Federal Work Study OR Duke Work Study. 
  • To apply for either type of work study, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There is more information on the How to Apply site of the Duke Karsh Office of Undergraduate Financial Support.  
  • Once submitted, Duke will notify students whether they qualify for Federal or Duke Work Study. Almost all Duke students can use work study to do research. Mentors can post a job opening using the student employment site JobXJobX and collect applications, and many mentors do this alongside the MUSER platform to draw students’ attention to their research projects. Alternatively, a student might approach a mentor directly to use their work study funds. This only requires that mentors post the position on JobX and that the student completes the application through that site. (HR representatives or a business manager can help to post the position and hire the student). 
  • Mentors can check with their funding agencies and departmental sources to determine whether they can pay student wages in order to supplement the 25 – 50% of the student’s salary not covered by work study.  
  • The Undergraduate Research Support Office has URS Assistantships available to supplement the 25 – 50% of a student’s wages that is not covered by work-study. The application for these assistantships will be available on the URS website at the beginning of each semester until the funds are depleted.  

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between a Work Study job and a Non-Work Study Job?  

Work Study only refers to the funding source of the student’s wages for the position, and it has no bearing on the types of jobs or responsibilities they can perform. Research is considered a work study position suitable for a student.  


What is the difference between Federal Work Study and Duke Work Study? 

The difference doesn’t matter for students–  earnings will be the same. The difference lies in how much financial aid will cover for the employer: Federal Work Study will cover 75% of wages and Duke Work Study will cover 50%.  


What is the maximum amount of work study wages a student is eligible for and what happens when that runs out?  

The amount of work study the student is awarded is determined by a number of different factors. The maximum work study award for 2022 was $2,200 for the Fall and Spring semesters combined. But Federal work study only covers 75% of this award, and Duke work study only covers 50% of this award. The other 25% - 50% (up to $275-$550/semester) will need to be covered by another financial source. This may be covered by a faculty or department’s source of funds, or students can apply for a URS-Assistantship, which is available at the beginning of each semester until the funds are depleted. Once a student's work study award runs out, the mentor will be responsible for covering 100% of the wages from alternative funds.  


Can students earn a salary for doing research if they are enrolled in an Independent Study course for credit?  

Students are not eligible to earn wages through work study and/or assistantships if they are enrolled in Independent Study and are getting course credit on a research project with a mentor. Students can, however, earn wages doing research on one project while simultaneously earning IS course credit with a different mentor on a different research project. 


What is the hourly wage that students can earn for a Work Study position? 

The 2022/23 rates for hourly student employees are as follows (effective July 1, 2022) 

Please note: these allocations reflect total wage earnings. 

Position Type  Minimum  Maximum 
Student Assistant - General  $15.75/hr  $20.25/hr 
Student Assistant - Specialized  $16.75/hr  $23.25/hr 
How do I hire a work-study student? 

Once a work study eligible student has been identified for hire, the department is responsible for hiring the student and submitting the paperwork to Payroll, following all of the guidelines for student employment. Financial Aid will provide a work study code for their portion of the payroll for the student. If the student is awarded a URS Assistantship, the URS office will JV the funds to the department for the student’s wages to be paid. Questions about putting students on payroll can be directed to Duke Corporate Payroll Services: 


How can students apply for a URS Assistantship? 

Each semester, the application for URS Assistantships for students is available on the website for the student to apply for the 25% - 50% portion of wages that is not covered by work study for a research position that they have identified. When the student submits an application for a URS Assistantship, mentors will receive an email with further instructions.