If you thought that you were going to be a starving college student with no way to help you pay for tuition and books, then do not despair! The federal government offers a special program to help you pay for your college attendance and can even give you extra money for personal spending.
Federal work study provides jobs for both undergraduate and graduate students who exhibit financial need. It helps you earn money to help pay for your college expenses by working on or off campus or performing community service work.
What is Federal Work Study?
Every college and university has a work study program available to students that offers a wide range of on and off campus jobs. That means every student who exhibits financial need and applies to be in the federal work study program is guaranteed a job. These jobs will not only help you pay for college, but they'll also provide you with valuable work-related experience that will prepare you for your future career.
If you completed the FAFSA and you're eligible for financial aid, then you are eligible to be part of your school's federal work study program. Not every student receives the same amount of financial aid. It is determined by your level of financial need and how much work study money your college has to distribute. You will earn at least the minimum wage, but you might make more dependent on how well you work, your previous work experience, and if the school has extra money.
Show Me the Money!
Under graduate students are paid by the hour, while graduate students are paid either by the hour or by a salary. Most college institutions pay their students once a month, and you are paid directly with a check. You can request to have your check sent directly to your financial aid office to be put towards your tuition, or you can have it automatically deposited into your student checking account. Also, you can not exceed your work hours. That means you can not earn more money than what your federal work study award was, so your employers have to make sure they schedule you approbably.
Where Will I Work?
Federal work study programs can be administered both on and off campus. If you work on campus you will be working for the university, usually at a bookstore, the cafeteria or in a residence hall. If you work off campus you are usually employed by a non-profit agency or a public organization working with your school. If you do work a reasonable distance off campus and you drive, make sure you have student auto insurance.
Federal work study is a great opportunity to cure your starving student blues. You get paid, you get to interact with fellow students and you gain work experience that will make you a valuable asset to future employers. If a student loan, grant or scholarship does not provide sufficient tuition assistance to you, then you can always apply to your college's work study program.