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Learning-Aligned Employment Program

Interested in getting paid to conduct research during the academic year?

The Learning Aligned Employment Program (LAEP) offers students paid research positions that may relate to their major, career goals, or the exploration of career options. LAEP is funded by the California Student Aid Commission (CSAC) to support students with financial need. Participants in this program will be hired as Research Assistants and will be paid hourly wages to conduct research with UC San Diego faculty.

Who is Eligible?

Eligible students meet all the following criteria:

  • Must apply for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA)
  • At least half-time enrollment
  • California resident
  • Must meet Satisfactory Academic Progress requirements
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • Be in good academic standing with your school and major
  • Eligibility to work in the United States

Priority will be given to eligible students who are first-generation college students, current/former foster youth, homeless, or at risk of being homeless. Further priority will be given to eligible students majoring in a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) discipline.

Steps to Apply for Students

Visit Handshake and search LAEP to locate positions. The deadline to apply is March 3, 2023. Candidates selected will be notified in mid-March 2023, and an orientation for new LAEP students will take place in early April 2023.

For Parents and Families

Encouraging your student to participate in LAEP, if they’re eligible, is a great way for them to gain work experience while helping to offset the cost of tuition at UC San Diego.

Frequently Asked Questions

LAEP provides funds to offer eligible students opportunities to earn money to help pay their educational costs while gaining career-related experience in their fields of study.

Students cannot count their research work for multiple programs/opportunities. Using the same work for academic credit and a paid position is not allowed.

No, you may hold only one work-study job, either under LAEP or Federal Work-Study, at a time. You may work at another campus employment position but not under work- study.

No, the program is only open to students pursuing an initial undergraduate degree.

Yes. Students must be eligible to work in the U.S. to participate.

You can learn more about the program and funding development at