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Federal Work Study

For students looking to work in college, the Federal Work-Study Program is a good option. Your eligibility for Federal Work-Study is determined by the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA. You will only be matched with a job if you have high enough financial need. About 3,400 schools nationwide offer the program and the schools’ administrators determine how work-study funds are distributed. Browse through our site to see more tips on funding your education through work-study and outside of work-study.

What is Federal Work-Study

The Federal Work-Study Program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn extra money to help pay for college expenses. Work-study jobs are often connected to a student’s interests or major, and if you work on-campus, the job will be connected to your college. Off-campus employers are usually private nonprofit organizations or a public agencies. It is up to schools to request funding from the federal government and distribute that funding to in the work-study program.

How much will I make?

You’ll earn at least the current federal minimum wage. Wages depend on the type of work and the skills required. Your total Federal Work-Study award depends on when you apply, your level of need, and the funding level of your school. Commissions or fees are not paid to Federal Work-Study students.

How will I be paid?

If you’re an undergraduate, you are paid by the hour. If you’re a graduate student, you might be paid by the hour or you might receive a salary. Your school must pay you at least once a month. Also, your school must pay you directly, unless you requested otherwise. For example, you can request to make payments to your bank account or use the money to pay for your institutional charges such as tuition, fees, and room and board.

Are Federal Work-Study jobs on-campus or off-campus?

Both. If you work on campus, you work for your school. If you work off campus, your employer will be a private nonprofit organization or a public agency. Some schools have agreements with private for-profit employers for work-study jobs if they are relevant to your course of study. If you attend a proprietary school, look out for more restrictions on work-study jobs.

Can I work as many hours as I want?

No. The amount you earn cannot exceed your total Federal Work-Study award. When assigning work hours, your employer or financial aid administrator considers your class schedule and academic progress. Most schools limit the number of hours you can work in their work-study program.

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Last Reviewed: September 2019