While studying should be your priority in college, you’re probably going to need some spending money too. But between classes, extracurricular activities, coursework, and learning how to live on your own, finding a job that fits your schedule might seem impossible. Fear not—there are many ways for a student to make money in college!
Federal Work-Study is a program funded by the federal government that provides part-time work for students with financial need. Students participating in federal work study usually work on campus, though sometimes schools will also have arrangements with off-campus nonprofits or public agencies.
One advantage of work study is that, since they hire so many students, work study employers understand the academic calendar and that your classes are a priority. In addition, your work study job will likely be on campus, which means you’ll spend less time getting to and from work.
Federal work study is open to full-time and part-time students. To find out whether you’re eligible, you need to fill out a FAFSA. Some schools have their own self-funded work study programs in addition to or instead of the Federal Work-Study Program. These self-funded programs may be open to students with different levels of financial need than the federal program. To find out whether your school participates in a federal or self-funded program or both, contact their financial aid office.
Work for staff or faculty
Most colleges and universities have an e-bulletin or online community-listings space where people can place classified ads. If you have experience with childcare, landscaping, petsitting, housework, or other odd jobs, check the ads for faculty and staff members looking for help in these areas. Again, since they belong to the campus community, faculty and staff understand the academic calendar and the rhythms of campus life.
If you don’t find promising leads in your school’s bulletin, place an ad of your own. Highlight your experience, outline your availability, list your contact info, and be prepared to provide references if you get a bite. In addition, don’t be afraid to approach faculty and staff in person to let them know you’re available for hire. In a campus community, faculty and staff often rely on students for household help.
Keep in mind that it’s possible staff and especially faculty won’t need help during school breaks (they’re often on break at the same time you are), which could free you up to visit home or travel with friends.
Work for a local business
Of course, maybe you’d like to work more hours during breaks. If that’s the case, check out local business that might be willing to be flexible with your hours. Restaurants, coffee shops, pizza places, grocery stores, and retail stores may appreciate extra help on nights and weekends and during holidays. Some of these places will offer employee discounts too, which could help keep even more cash in your pocket.
Important: before committing to an off-campus job, consider how you’ll get to and from work, especially in bad weather or late at night.
And remember . . .
If you feel like you’ve exhausted all your options and are coming up empty—or if you still don’t know where to start—contact your financial aid office. The people who work there want to help keep your finances on track!