Help Pay for College Expenses with Work Study

Work study is a great way to work part time and help pay for your college expenses. Check out some of the answers to frequently asked questions about college work study:

What is federal work study?

The work-study program subsidizes the paychecks of college students who work qualifying part-time, typically on-campus jobs. You can use funds earned through work-study to pay for college expenses.

What is the value of work study and why should I participate?

Work study can help you:

  • Gain valuable work experience while pursuing a degree
  • Acquire new skills
  • Strengthen your resume
  • Make new friends and build relationships
  • Reduce the amount of your tuition bill   

How do you qualify?

You must file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid to become eligible for work-study. You must demonstrate financial need, and if you file the FAFSA early you often have a better shot at qualifying. Schools often award aid on a first-come, first-served basis.

If you qualify, does it guarantee you a job?

Some schools will match your interests with a job on campus. Others will require you to find your own job. You also need to make sure you show up to work, complete your responsibilities, and earn your paycheck for it to apply to your tuition bill or provide support for your day-to-day living expenses.

How much money can you make?

You’ll be paid by the hour and will make at least minimum wage, if not more. You will be limited to working a certain number of hours/week so your pay will equal the amount of your work-study award.  

Can you count on the same amount of work-study award each year?

Several factors can determine whether or not you receive work study from year to year. Some of these include include your family income or financial need, whether you used the work-study funds that were offered to you in a prior year, or how much work-study funding your school receives that year.  It’s recommended that you complete the FAFSA early (October prior to the academic year) and indicate your interest in work study.

Do you have to accept work study?

Even when you’ve been awarded work study, you can choose not to work during the academic year and decline federal work study. You may instead take out student loans, use your savings, or make money through a non-work-study job, or other options.