On-Campus Undergraduate Financial Aid

Work-study is a form of need-based financial aid that doesn't have to be repaid but differs from gift aid in that it must be earned. While it may be part of your financial aid offer, you will receive the funds as wages for hours worked at a flexible, part-time job. 

Joe R. Smith Student Service Program


  • Average annual earnings: $2,300
  • Wage: $10.16 per hour


  • Demonstrate financial need via the FAFSA
  • Be eligible to work in the U.S.
  • Be enrolled full-time (at least 12 hours)


Complete the FAFSA form (include JBU on the School Selection page).


Renewable for up to four years provided your job performance and attendance are adequate

Program details

Earning your maximum award and receiving payment

To earn your maximum work-study award, you must work an average of 7.5 hours per week. You will receive payment every two weeks via direct deposit or pay card. You may also choose to have your earnings applied directly to your student account.

Please note that work-study awards are not automatically counted as aid when calculating monthly payment plans. That is, your payment plan will be calculated as if you will earn $0 from work-study. This is because work-study funds are earned based on the number of hours you work.

Work-study employee expectations


Freshmen accept work-study positions in one of three areas that are essential to the daily operation of the campus: food services, custodial services or grounds crew.

Students in food services may perform the following duties: cafeteria service, dishwashing, cooking, salad bar preparation, cake/dessert decorating, cleanup, computer data entry, inventory, processing time cards, and student ID scanning. Flexible hours begin in the early morning (5:30 am) and go until the late evening.  Weekend hours are available. Walker Student Center California Café employees are also hired through Creative Dining Services.

Students in custodial services perform general housekeeping duties to be performed in the dorms or in the office/academic areas. These duties include dusting, vacuuming, cleaning bathrooms, emptying trash receptacles, etc. Flexible morning, evening, late evening, and weekend hours are available.

Grounds crew responsibilities include mowing, landscaping, watering, weeding, snow removal, trash pickup, planting, some indoor plant care, painting traffic signs, etc. Hours are available between 7 am and 4 pm Monday through Friday, except for 12 to 1 pm. Occasional weekend work may be available.

Each summer, upperclassmen apply for jobs open for the fall semester. These positions include Walton Lifetime Health Complex front desk monitors, admissions interns, teacher assistants, library assistants, computer lab monitors, and many others.

Federal community service jobs include reading and math tutors, Boys and Girls Club Leaders, public library attendants, and other positions with local non-profit organizations.

Work-study paperwork

Before you may begin your employment, you must submit several forms. You must also complete a Form I-9 in person with Human Resources.

Self-prepared forms

JBU may receive self-prepared forms via:

Form I-9

The Form I-9 requires you to present Human Resources with documentation of your identity and eligibility to work in the U.S. Please review the list of acceptable documents and bring them with you to campus. You may present one selection from List A or a combination of one selection from List B and one selection from List C.

Frequently asked questions

I have work experience in a certain field. Can I apply for a job in the field even though I'm a freshman?

No. All freshmen are assigned to an essential services position for one full year. Freshmen can choose to work for food services, custodial services, or grounds crew. These areas provide vital services for the daily operation of the University and require a large number of student workers in order to run effectively.

When do work-study assignments start?

Work-Study begins the first day of classes each semester.

When do I get paid?

Student employees get paid every two weeks beginning in September and ending in May. 

Are work-study wages taxable? Should I include it on my tax return?

Yes! All wages paid to students (including work-study) are subject to federal and state income taxes and must be reported on the appropriate tax forms. Retirement contributions, such as social security, are not withheld. Each employee will receive an earnings statement, Form W-2, from the Business Office at the end of the calendar year.

Who is Joe R. Smith?

Joe R. Smith graduated from John Brown University in 1927. After graduation, he devoted nearly fifty years as the director of JBU's work programs. It has been said that he was "the personification of the JBU spirit." He carefully upheld the ideals of the work ethic, as he faithfully gave encouragement to students who worked around him. He was a wonderful example for the students as he effectively labored to serve God and man.

I have another question. Who should I contact?

Applying for admission is the first step to getting financial aid