8 Things to Know About Work Study

1. Being Awarded Federal Work-Study Does Not Guarantee You a Job

Accepting the work-study funds you’re offered is just the first step. In order to receive those funds, you need to earn them, which means you need to start by finding a work-study job. Bates requires that the student find, apply and interview for positions on their own, just like any other job. It is important that students who are interested in work-study or who have already been awarded work-study login to Handshake to search and apply for jobs.

2. Not All Work-Study Jobs are on Campus

The availability of work-study positions includes community service options with non-profit employers, which means some work-study jobs are available for off-campus work. An example might be reading or tutoring for elementary children at local public schools. If you are curious about securing a community service work-study position, contact the Harward Center for Community Partnerships.

3. Work-Study Funds Are Not Applied Directly to Your Tuition

Unlike other types of financial aid, work-study earnings are not applied directly to your tuition and fees. Students who are awarded work-study receive the funds via direct deposit as they earn them, based on hours worked, just like a normal job. These earnings are meant to help with the day to day expenses that students have and are not meant to cover large costs like tuition and housing.

4. Work-Study Jobs May Be Limited

You may be able to work on campus without work-study.  Bates offer jobs for students with or without work-study.

5. Federal Work-Study is not Guaranteed from Year to Year

There are several factors that can determine whether or not you receive work-study from year to year. These include your family income or financial need, whether you used the work-study funds that were offered to you in a prior year, or how much work-study funding your school receives that year. Typically, students who file the FAFSA early (in January/February prior to the academic year) and answer on the FAFSA that they are interested in Federal Work-Study will have a higher chance of being awarded funds from the program.

6. Pay May Vary

Work-study jobs vary in qualifications and responsibilities, so the pay will depend on the job that you are hired to do.

7. Work-study Earnings Are Removed From Your FAFSA Calculation for the Next Year

One of the benefits of earning income through a federal work-study position is that those earnings do not count against you when you complete the next year’s FAFSA. Be sure to answer the question regarding how much was earned through work-study on your FAFSA accurately. If you do not know the answer, you can contact the payroll office for help.

8. Hours Worked May Vary

How many hours you work each week will depend on the type of job you get and your employer’s expectations. Many student employment positions, however, will work around your class schedule and only require between 10-20 hours/week, but again – that can vary!  Students working on campus cannot work more than 20 hours per week when school is in session.

Adapted from: http://www.ed.gov/blog/2015/08/8-things-you-should-know-about-federal-work-study-2/

Chandra Owen, Training Coordinator in the Office of Financial Aid at Michigan State University, Justin Chase Brown, Director of Scholarships & Financial Aid at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Karla Weber, Senior Advisor in the Office of Student Financial Aid at the University of Wisconsin-Madison