Learning-Aligned Employment Program (LAEP) Recruitment

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LAEP job posting requests are currently open on a rolling basis for the 23/24 AY!

The Learning Aligned Employment Program (LAEP) is a state-funded, work-based learning program similar to federal work-study. LAEP offers eligible undergraduate students the opportunity to earn money to help defray their educational costs while gaining education-aligned, career-related employment related to research. UCSC piloted the program in Spring 2023 and funding will continue to be available until June 30, 2031.

On-campus employers may now apply to participate in LAEP on a rolling basis to recruit for fully funded, research-based job opportunities for eligible students. LAEP covers 100% of the student’s wages up to $6,000 of employment costs depending on the individual students’ financial need. Students can work up to 15 hrs/week. On-campus employers will need to re-apply for approval each academic year of the program.

Student Eligibility for LAEP

Eligible students are determined by the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office and meet the following criteria: At least half-time academic enrollment in an undergraduate program, California resident classification, maintenance of satisfactory academic progress in an undergraduate certificate or degree program, a demonstrated financial need (as determined by the Financial Aid and Scholarship Office), and eligibility to work in the United States.

Further, a student participating in LAEP shall only be placed in an educationally beneficial position that relates to the student’s area of study, career objective, or the exploration of career objectives.

On-campus Job Recruitment Eligibility for LAEP

On-campus employers eligible for the program must meet specific guidelines appointed by the California Student Aid Commission and UCSC. On campus employment positions must be research-related and occur during the academic year (summers not included). Research is not limited to STEM research and can take place outside of an academic discipline. The research must be directed and supervised by a “research mentor”.  A research mentor is a faculty, staff or another mentor (non-graduate student) who will determine the research requirements. Students may receive academic credit for work performed in a LAEP position and academic credit is highly encouraged.

 LAEP On-Campus Position Application Process

  1. Fill out this brief job posting request form to determine if your student research job is eligible for the program. 
    1. Be prepared to identify the research mentor, provide a detailed job description, and justify the job's research relevance. Complete a separate request form for each unique research role, however one form can be completed for hiring up to 2 students for the same job.
    2. The LAEP job must start on or after September 23, 2023 and must end by June 13, 2024 for the 2023/24 AY.
  2. Once approved, Career Success will notify the research mentor on next steps for recruiting a student to fill the LAEP job posting in Handshake. In the meantime, we encourage potential research mentors to do the following:
    1. If you do not already have one, create an employer account in Handshake. Review this guide detailing how to create an account. If you are an alumni of UCSC, please follow these directions to create an account linked to your Handshake alumni account. Learn more about how to toggle between an alumni account and an employer account in this quick video.
    2. Next, connect to or create a new company account. Search for your organization's name and request to join that company.  Many departments on campus have created company accounts in Handshake. Search for your department's name and request to join that company. The company owner will review your request and grant you access to Handshake. If you cannot find your organization, you will need to create a new company account.
    3. View our support page for help in how to utilize the Handshake platform.
  3. Once Career Success has approved your job in Handshake, the research mentor must interview and select a candidate from the pool of Handshake applications.
    1. Please be aware during your recruitment in Handshake: Work-study and LAEP-eligible students can apply for LAEP jobs in Handshake! Most work-study students should be eligible for LAEP if they are a California resident. Students can be certain of their eligibility by completing a Request Work-Study or LAEP eForm. See our student facing page to learn how students can access the eForm. 
    2. If students are unable to see your LAEP job posting(s), they should fill out the Request Work-Study or LAEP eForm to determine their eligibility. See our student facing page to learn how students can access the eForm. 
  4. Once you select a student, the research mentor must create a hire in the HIRES system.
    1. Learn in depth about the hiring process here.
    2. The hire request form cannot be completed without a Handshake Job Posting ID number, therefore recruitment through Handshake is mandatory.
    3. If a student is not searchable in HIRES for your LAEP job, see point a) for reasons why.
  5. Career Success will then contact the student and research mentor with required agreement forms. Your job status will remain as "LAEP Submitted" in "manage hires" tab in HIRES until agreement forms are signed.
    1. The student will be emailed to complete a LAEP student agreement form in myUCSC
    2. The research mentor will sign a research agreement via Docusign
  6. Once both agreement forms are signed, Career Success will finalize the hire through HIRES. The student will then complete the onboarding process. Students may not begin working in the role until September 23rd AND they receive their virtual blue card which will be emailed to the student and the supervisor once their onboarding is complete.
    1. The research mentor will be notified when the student is ready to work.

Once a Student is Hired

  • Students log hours through Cruzpay 
  • LAEP will pay 100% of the student(s)’ wages until the LAEP award is exhausted or until the last day of Spring Quarter. At that point, the on-campus employer will be fully responsible for any and all wages earned after the LAEP award is exhausted or wages earned after the last day of Spring Quarter.
  • The employer can track the student’s award balance in HIRES (link: https://hires.ucsc.edu/work_study_balances). Note: balances are reflected based on the last pay confirmed within UCPath.

Info Sessions

A series of live info sessions will be available for staff and faculty interested in hiring LAEP eligible students for their research jobs. The first infosession series will cover LAEP basics such as eligibility and how to sign up. The second infosession series covers hiring from Handshake to HIRES.

LAEP Info Session 1.0 - Basics

The first info session are geared toward staff and faculty interested in hiring subsidized students for their research jobs. A copy of the slidedeck can be found as a pdf copy (with clickable links). See a recording below ↓ and schedule follow up questions with the LAEP Coordinator if you have questions (ucscel@ucsc.edu).


LAEP Info Session 2.0 - Hiring Process

This info session is geared toward staff/faculty research mentors and hiring support staff such as hiring managers, timekeepers, unit approvers, budget analyst, research administrators, etc.. You can find a pdf copy of the slidedeck here (with clickable links).


Contact the LAEP Coordinator at ucscel@ucsc.edu with questions