What is Work-Study?

by Grace

Federal Work-Study is a program that provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate college students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses.

How does it work?

You apply for work-study just like you do all other forms of financial aid: by filling out and submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Your financial need usually determines the amount of work-study you are eligible for.

You find work-study jobs through job banks or postings by the financial aid or college employment offices. In most cases, students will have the opportunity to interview with potential work-study employers. The interviews help students and employers find out if the job is a good fit. Sometimes the college arranges these interviews; sometimes the student does. Even if you are eligible for work-study, there is no guarantee you’ll get a work-study job. In the end, whether or not you are hired is up to the employer.

What kinds of jobs are available?

If you get a work-study job on campus, the college will usually be your employer. Typical jobs include working in the library or bookstore, serving other students in the dining hall, and assisting with college events. Off-campus work usually benefits the public in some way and should relate as closely as possible to your course of study.

How can work be considered financial aid?

Sometimes it’s difficult to see how working part-time during college could be considered “financial aid.” Keep in mind that the money you make from a work-study job does not need to be repaid, nor does it count against you when you apply for aid the following year. Plus, the smooth hiring process, flexible hours, choice and availability of jobs, and preset salaries of a typical work-study program usually make finding a work-study job easier than finding work on your own.

Work-Study can be an important benefit, with advantages over other types of jobs. Contact colleges to obtain details about their programs.  The federal student aid site is a good source of information:

Federal Work-Study jobs help students earn money to pay for college or career school.

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“How Work-Study Works”, College Data.

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2 Comments to “What is Work-Study?”

  1. I did work study all through college, as well as in the summers. It was a great program. The jobs were always more interesting than the usual burger-flipping job. I worked in library reference for 3 years, and then as a grant researcher for the school of Ed.

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  2. That sounds great. I didn’t know before I wrote this post that work-study jobs were supposed to try to be related to a student’s major.

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