College Work Study Programs

What are college work-study programs?

Another major way to cut down the cost of education and receive financial aid while attending college is through various college work study programs.  A college work-study program is basically just a fancy name for “part-time” job.”  College work study programs are specifically designed for students who have financial need.  Around 3,000 schools are provided with funding each year to create campus jobs for eligible students.

How do I become eligible?

Just like all other federal aid, you have to fill out the FAFSA form to become eligible for this program. You will find out if you are eligible for college work study programs when you receive your financial aid award letter in the mail from the various school’s that you’ve been accepted to.

You should contact your school’s financial aid office in order to get set-up to start working.  Work study programs vary from school to school, so it’s best if you check with your school to get the specific details.  The type of campus positions include, but are not limited to, tutor, library assistant, and computer lab technician.

How many hours will I work?

Most students work around 20 hours a week during the school year.  During summer months students are allowed to work up to 35 hours a week, however the amount of hours you work cannot exceed your total federal work study awarded amount.  You’ll likely be paid on an hourly basis and receive a pay check every two weeks.  You are required to get at least the current federal minimum wage rate, but you may get paid more depending on your job function.

What are some of the benefits?

Not only do these part-time jobs allow students to pay for some of their college expenses, but there are also some other cool benefits to getting involved in a college work study program.  One of the more obvious benefits is that you will be close to work, which will cut down on your commuting time.  Just think…all you will have to do is walk across campus to get to work.

Another benefit is the work experience that you will obtain from your campus job.  Many times, recent graduates feel the frustration of having to wait to get that perfect job in the field of their choice after graduation due to lack of work experience.  However, if you’ve worked while attending college, you’ll have a leg up on your completion.

In some cases, student workers have been hired as permanent employees by their colleges after, and even in some cases before graduation.  This is because they are already familiar with the student’s work ethic and personality.  Even better, if you do work for a college or university after you obtain your undergraduate degree, you can take classes at that particular college or university for free as a “company benefit.”

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Lauren Anderson is a certified school counselor who's passionate about helping students all over the world successfully transition from high school to college! After spending 6 years as a business professional, she obtained her Master’s degree in School Counseling and now spends her spare time helping students.

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