Student Employment FAQ

Answers to common questions about various forms of student employment at Penn. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Work-study is a need-based component of most financial aid packages. With work-study, you are awarded a dollar amount that you can earn through working at an approved job on- or off-campus. Approved jobs can be found on the Student Employment Office website.

To identify if you have work-study in your financial aid package, look at your financial aid award on Penn InTouch. Under “Your Financial Aid,” you will see either “Federal Work-study” or “Penn Job” if work-study is in your package.

While it is preferred that a student have one job, we recognize the need for a student to work an adequate number of hours per week (within established limits) in order to cover personal expenses. A student's number one priority is academic achievement.

A student is limited to two jobs at any given time. A student must have permission from their supervisor and business administrator at the first job before seeking a second job.

When classes are in session, students (full-time or part-time) can work a maximum of 20 hours per week.

When classes are officially not in session, U.S. students (full-time or part-time) can work a maximum of 40 hours per week. During school breaks (Thanksgiving, Winter, and Spring), F-1 students may work full-time, up to a maximum of 40 hours per week.

A student is required to take an unpaid break or lunch of at least one-half hour after five consecutive hours of work.

Students can search for jobs through the “Job Search” on the Student Employment Office website. Using this site, you can use filters to search for jobs that match your interests and skills. Each listing in this search will include a summary of the position, how much they pay, and how many hours they expect the student to work each week.

Most job listings will specify what you should submit as part of your application. If the listing does not specify and you’re unsure, consider sending them a copy of your resume and explain why you’re interested in the position. For more specifics, we recommend looking at the resources on the Career Services website.

Wage rates range from $8.00 per hour to $15 per hour,  based on the required skill-level of the position. You will be paid weekly for the hours you report on your timesheet. If you work on- or off-campus, you will report your hours through Workday@Penn. We strongly recommend you receive your pay through direct deposit.

To have your pay automatically deposited into your U.S. checking or savings account, sign up for Direct Deposit in Workday.

Student employees can view their pay history in Workday. You will need to enter your PennKey and password. You can also access this link from the Penn Portal.

Student employees are not eligible for benefits such as sick pay, vacation pay, holiday pay, or unemployment compensation, but are eligible for Workers' Compensation under the provisions of Pennsylvania law. Workers' Compensation covers expenses for medical care from job-related injuries or occupational diseases sustained in the course of employment. A student who suffers a work related injury must report it immediately to their immediate supervisor. The supervisor must report on-the-job injuries to the department's business administrator promptly.

You can check the status of your work-study award through Penn InTouch. You will also receive an email notification if you come close to using all of your available work-study funds. You can request an increase in work-study funds using the “Work-Study Award Increase Request Form,” found under Financial Aid Forms on the SRFS website.

If you are working many hours a week in a high-paying job, it is likely that you will use all your funding before the end of the year. If you cannot increase your work-study award, consider asking your employer if they can pay you without work-study.

Work-study funds are provided as part of your financial aid package, meaning they should contribute to your cost of attendance. Learn more about the undergraduate cost of attendance on the SRFS website. If you’d like to learn more about how to manage and budget your earnings, visit Financial Wellness @ Penn.

Students who are unable to use their work-study award can receive the funds in the form of a loan. This gives the student the opportunity to receive the funding they need when they cannot earn it. If you’d like to pursue this option, please consult a financial aid counselor.

A student must be removed from the work-study payroll if they graduate, withdraw from the University, take a leave of absence, or are dismissed or suspended for academic or conduct reasons.

An employed student who intends to withdraw from the program, or who wishes to change jobs within the semester, must inform their supervisor. A student is expected to give at least one week's notice before leaving a position. Releasing a student from a job is done online by the supervisor. An e-mail confirming the student's release will be sent to the department's SEMS coordinator.

Withdrawal from the program will not jeopardize a student's chances of receiving work-study eligibility in future years.

It is the student's responsibility to report to work on time for every scheduled shift. If the student cannot work because of an illness, emergency, or will be late for work, the supervisor must be notified as early as possible before the shift begins. Potential conflicts should be discussed well in advance with the supervisor. Continued tardiness and failure to provide adequate prior notice of absence as determined by the supervisor are considered grounds for termination.

Requirements for attire are determined at the direction of the employing department.

A student and supervisor are encouraged to discuss any work-related problems. Experience has shown that most minor disagreements can be resolved by honest, non-confrontational discussion of the problem. An attempt should be made to informally resolve the disagreement between the student and the immediate supervisor. If the problem cannot be resolved within the department, the student should make an appointment with the Manager of Student Employment to discuss the problem. Depending on the problem, a student may be referred to another University office for advice and resolution.