Why You Should Take Advantage of Work Study Programs

If you applied for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), and you received anything to do with the Federal Work Study Program, you need to take advantage of this opportunity. Why? Although the government and the school aren’t giving you money directly, they are opening up a whole selection of jobs for you that may not have been available before. Many colleges have positions within the school set aside just for these students who are part of the work study program.

  • How does it work? The program offers funds for students who work part-time. According to the U.S. Department of Education, 3,400 post secondary institutions offer funds to their students. In addition, they cannot pay students below minimum wage. Each institution gets a certain amount of funds from the Department of Education. The school or employer then must pay up to a 50 percent share of the student’s wages.
  • Why is it helpful? This is money that the government gives to institutions to pay you, a student, to do a job. It’s another source of income for paying off loans, paying for tuition, or just having extra spending money. By being a part of this program you have a higher chance of getting a position with the school as well. Many schools have positions that are only open to work-study students. This will give them another reason to hire you, which is particularly helpful if you haven’t had much experience before.
  • How do I get a job? You may speak to any of the financial aid offices at your school to see exactly what options you have to go about this, but what I’ve seen is that most have a website where you can apply for different positions. You’ll have to fill out a profile first though; so, make sure you have information on previous employers, social security number, student id, and any other information important to identifying who you are and your experience. By working through these sites you can apply to multiple positions and possibly get updates when there are new jobs open. There are also often posters or meetings for students interested in certain positions. Keep an eye out for these at your favorite parts on campus so you don’t miss out on them.
  • So what? Okay, so it’s not like this part is easy money to fund for school, but it is an easier way to get a job, show dedication, get references, get experience, and flesh out a resume for later in life. Even if you work shelving books at the library or the bookstore, the fact that you have another paid position listed on your resume will look better. In addition, you will have bosses to list under references and you can make connections with professors, students, and others who may be helpful to your future. Even if it isn’t something you’re in love with, the time you spend at this job will reflect positively on you.

I received work study at my school, but was scared off my freshman year by the competitiveness of the applications and the worry about being overwhelmed. Instead, I later got multiple jobs outside the school. While I appreciate the effort I got, it wasn’t the same connection to the school that I could have had through my work study program. So if you have this opportunity, take advantage of it! Even if it’s a few more hours away from studying or spending time with your friends, it’ll be worth it in the long run.

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Mollie Diedrich

Mollie Diedrich

Mollie Diedrich is a senior creative writing major at DePaul University. She is minoring in journalism and aspires to be the next big food writer. Her love of writing propels all she does from her food blog to online magazine articles. When she isn’t writing, she’s probably baking. She has a ferocious sweet tooth and adores cupcakes of all shapes and sizes.