What is work-study?

The federal work-study program is one of the financial aid options available when you qualify for federal aid. The work-study program is administered by the college with the federal government paying half the salary. The amount of money earned by the student in a work-study job is considered part of the financial aid package and doesn’t reduce future financial aid awards.

Students must apply for financial aid using the FAFSA to be eligible for a work-study job. They must also indicate on the application that they would be willing to accept a work-study job. Students are still eligible for work-study even if they don’t check the option on the FAFSA. However, it will delay the process and increase the likelihood of the money running out before they get a chance to apply for a job.

Students get work-study jobs through their school, not the federal government. Each campus will have their own process for applying for work-study jobs. The availability of work-study jobs will vary by campus. Simply being eligible for a work-study job doesn’t guarantee that students will find a work-study job.

The amount of hours a student can work at a work-study job is limited by the amount of the financial aid award. A student cannot earn more than the financial aid award. The money earned through work-study is paid to the student directly and is subject to income tax.

The advantage of work-study is it often takes the place of student loans. However, unlike loans, students have to earn the money before it is awarded. Also, if there is a gap between your financial aid award and the student’s ability to pay, the student may not want a work-study job so that he can work a job and earn money to cover the gap.

Check the university’s website for work-study information.

Examples of College Work Study Program Rules/Requirements
University of Texas at San Antonio
University of California Davis

University of California Berkeley

Western Washington University

University of Minnesota

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