College Work-Study as a Financial Aid Option
Work-study refers to any part-time campus jobs which are funded by the federal government. These jobs are typically require 10 to 15 hours a week so they don’t interfere with studies and could be just about any job that you could imagine a student doing. You could be working in a cafeteria, manning an entrance desk in the dorm or stacking books in the library.
Things to Know About College Work-Study Programs
- Applied for Via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
- You Still Have to Apply for the Campus Jobs
- Check for Open Opportunities Near the Beginning of the School Year
- The Time Commitment for Work-Study
Applied for Via the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
The application for work-study is once again, our friend, the FAFSA. In the application, you will be asked if you want to be considered for work-study. ALWAYS answer “yes” to this question. You can always turn a work-study position down if you are offered it; but if you don’t answer “yes”, you won’t even get a chance to make that decision. Work-study is typically offered on a “need” basis and more students usually qualify for work-study than other forms of aid, like a Pell Grant, for instance.
You Still Have to Apply for the Campus Jobs
It is important to note that if you are awarded work-study in your financial aid package, you do not automatically get a job. You still need to apply for the opportunities available on campus. Check online or with the college financial aid office to find out what campus jobs qualify as work-study and which are still available. Once you know which jobs are available, move fast. There will be many other students going after the same jobs, so don’t procrastinate. Also, keep in mind that some work-study jobs (like lab assistants) may only be available to specific groups of students and unavailable to you.
Check for Open Opportunities Near the Beginning of the School Year
If you are not awarded work-study as part of your financial aid package, but would still like to pursue work-study opportunities, then check in with the financial aid office as the beginning of the school year approaches. Many students will turn down work-study funds leaving them available for other students who are aggressive enough to ask.
The Time Commitment for Work-Study
If you are concerned that you will not have enough time to commit to a 10-15 hour a week work-study job, consider the results of a study performed at the University of Illinois. University officials wanted to know how a freshman student spends their time doing during the 168 hours of a seven day week. Here are the results:
||Average Hours per Week
||Hours per Week Remaining
Even if you spend 15 hours a week in work-study, that means you still have about 67 hours each week to eat, do laundry, play your Xbox, etc. Bottom line is that work-study should easily fit into your normal college routine and not interfere with your ability to get your studying in.