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Federal Work Study Research Assistantships (faculty funding)

The Office of Undergraduate Research & Fellowships has coordinated with the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships in order to allow students to use their federal work-study funds for positions as undergraduate research assistants for faculty at UT. The goal of this initiative is to expand opportunities for students to be introduced to the concept of scholarship, and to learn the research or scholarly methods in their field.

Faculty Information

Note: Please feel free to e-mail us at with any questions regarding Federal Work-Study Research Assistantships.

Recruiting Student Applicants:

1. Write a Good Job Description: All positions must give the students direct experience with research or scholarship, at a level that is consistent with the student’s skills and interests. These are not secretarial or other administrative support positions. The Federal Work-Study Research Assistant should be treated as a full member of your research or creative team.

A good position description will include:

  • 2-5 sentences describing the project and requirements for the position
  • reasonably nontechnical language geared toward undergraduate students
  • contact information, in case a student has direct questions about the position

As requested by Financial Aid, all position descriptions must be submitted through the online Work-Study System. For priority consideration in a new academic year, positions need to be submitted by early August, although you can submit your position anytime during the academic year, until funding is exhausted.

2. Post and Advertise the Position: Faculty are responsible for posting their positions in the online Work-Study System. You will use your NetID and password
to access the system. We recommend that you share this position information with your students, since they are likely to be most qualified. You can announce the position in class, and send the description through your department student listserv.

3. Hire Your Work-Study Undergraduate Research Assistant: The online Work-Study System will accept and manage applications from students. The faculty member or their designee in the same department will need to review and select a student through the system. Please feel free to interview all, some, or none of the applications sent. NB: These applicants have already passed the one requirement that the Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships stipulates (i.e., they have been awarded Federal Work-Study funds). Any other requirements are up to faculty.

Once you have interviewed and decided on a student for your position, please make the selection in the system. At that time, we also request that you e-mail us at note the research appointment in our data.


Student Information

Expectations for the Student:

  • Students will work as a research assistant for the assigned faculty member for 150 hours per semester. The schedule will be worked out between the student and the faculty member.
  • Time sheets are completed through the online Work-Study System
  • Time reports are due to the Office of Financial Aid & Scholarships on the Friday before the pay period ending date. ALL time reports received after 10 am on Monday following the pay period ending date will not be processed until the next payroll.
  • The pay rate currently is $8.50 – $9.50 per hour.

Student Eligibility:

Eligibility is based on demonstrated financial need and is calculated by the UT Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships. You MUST HAVE ALREADY BEEN AWARDED FEDERAL WORK-STUDY to apply for these positions. Please visit One Stop to view your eligibility. For specific questions about your unique situation, please call One Stop at (865) 974-1111. Please be aware that you cannot concurrently participate in FWS and the Faculty Research Assistants Program.

How Students Can Apply:

Students canĀ find available opportunities and apply for positions in the online Work-Study System.

Make sure to write a unique cover letter that explains to the faculty member how you have the skills and abilities (or at least an interest in learning the ones listed) to do the project. Note that department is the home department of the faculty mentor, NOT the required major. Most positions are open to all majors.