The Federal Work-Study program allows students to work part-time while they complete coursework toward their undergraduate or graduate degree. Eligibility for the program is based on financial need as determined by the answers provided on the Free Application for Student Aid, or FAFSA. While all students who participate in the Work-Study program are guaranteed at least minimum wage for the hours they work, the maximum a student can earn each year is based on their personal financial aid award.
Students who participate in the program get the opportunity to network with professionals in their field of study and gain work experience while they are still enrolled in school. They may even get a chance to apply some of the things they learn in the classroom in a real-world environment. Students who have Work-Study jobs gain networking and practical experience, which is an advantage over their classmates who either don’t work during the semester or work in other unrelated off-campus jobs.
Most Work-Study jobs are at the university the student attends. Students may be assigned to work as assistants in the academic department where they are enrolled, in a library, in a computer lab or at the school’s financial aid office. Every effort is made to find Work-Study opportunities in areas that coincide with the student’s course of study.
Some schools have relationships with local non-profit organizations and are able to offer their students Work-Study opportunities off-campus. Students are very valuable employees to nonprofit agencies because they are currently learning the most up-to-date skills in school. Just like on-campus Work-Study jobs, off-campus employment should be related to the student’s academic major. These jobs may offer additional networking opportunities for Work-Study students.
Work-Study programs are just one way that students can get the money they need to pay for higher education. Every student, regardless of whether they think they will qualify for grants, should fill out the FAFSA. Financial aid can take many forms, including subsidized and unsubsidized loans, Work-Study, grants, and scholarships. While many of the programs are based on need, some, such as unsubsidized loans and scholarships, may be available to all students.