Work Study

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federal work study

What is Work Study?

Work study is a form of federal financial aid that allows some schools to provide part-time jobs for students who have a financial need (based on the information from the student’s FAFSA).

How do I know if I've gotten it?

You’ll be notified on your financial award letter if you’re being offered Work Study as a form of your financial aid, as well as how much the award is for.

If you choose to accept it get in touch with the financial aid officer at your school right away so that they can direct you to the list of Work-Study jobs available. Like any job you’ll need to apply for Work Study jobs, and since there’s a limited number of them they’re given out on a first-come first-serve basis. You don’t want to miss out!

What sorts of jobs are there and where are they located?

Work Study jobs can be on campus or off campus.

If you end up working on campus you’ll usually work for your school. If you work off campus your employer will likely be a non-profit organization, a public agency, or in some cases even a private for-profit company; the job you have may even be directly related to your major or program of study.

How much will I get paid?

You’ll earn at least the federal minimum wage, but you might get lucky and earn more depending on the type of work you do and the skills required for the position.

Your school is the organization that will pay you directly, and you can choose how you spend your work-study money;  apply it to your tuition, use it for spending money, food, or whatever you need it for.

How much can I work?

You’ll work part-time so your job doesn’t negatively impact your class schedule or your grades.

Over the course of the school year the amount you earn at your Work Study job can’t go over the dollar amount you were awarded for Work Study on your financial aid award letter.

Which means, for example

  • If your Work Study award is $2,000, your work schedule will accommodate as many hours as you need to meet that $2,000. No more, no less.

If you need to earn more money than that you’ll need to get a second job elsewhere separate from your Work Study job.


  • Head to the next topic, Loans.