PA State Work-Study Program (SWSP)

This program helps the local economy while giving Pennsylvania employers the opportunity to shape student's training. On-the-job experience means that students are more apt to keep their talents and skills in Pennsylvania by seeking employment in the state after graduation.

The SWSP is a PHEAA-sponsored program made possible through PA General Assembly funding and with the cooperation of Pennsylvania postsecondary institutions and employers. Work-study programs are a form of financial aid that are typically need-based and allow students to earn money to help pay for educational expenses. This type of financial aid usually does not have to be repaid by students.

Through this program, PHEAA reimburses eligible employers up to 50 percent of every dollar earned up to a student's SWSP award amount. Reimbursement rates and amounts are based upon the type of organization (such as for-profit or nonprofit) and the student's earnings. Organizations participating in SWSP retain flexibility with the number and types of positions offered, the student's wage, the number of weekly hours the SWSP student works, and the number of months during the year in which the organization participates (for example summer only, year-round, etc.).


Most organizations are eligible to participate in the program. To participate in the SWSP, organizations must be located in Pennsylvania and be one of the following:

  • A federal, state, or local government agency
  • A public school district
  • A nonprofit organization
  • A for-profit organization
  • A postsecondary institution

Participating organizations must also ensure:

  • Employment or work conditions comply with all federal, state, and local laws.
  • SWSP students are paid 100 percent of their earnings for hours worked minus federal, state, and local taxes.
  • The placement of a SWSP student does not displace regular employees (including those laid off or on strike) or interfere with existing contracts.
  • SWSP job opportunities are in the public interest and not limited to the internal interests of the organization. Work is in the public interest if the work performed contributes to the general welfare of the community.

If your organization is interested in participating in the SWSP or want to learn more about this opportunity, check out our SWSP Funding Opportunities page for students or the SWSP Employer page.