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Federal Work Study

For those looking to balance work and college, the Federal Work-Study Program could be a good option. As with all of the federal funding you’ll find yourself eligible for, your eligibility for Federal Work-Study will be determined by the results of your Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, and you’ll only be matched with a position if your application shows you have high financial need. About 3,400 schools nationwide offer the program, and as with other college-based funding, the schools’ administrators have a large amount of say in determining how those funds are allocated and how much of the funding you’ll be eligible to receive. Browse through our site to see our tips related to working through college outside of the Federal Work-Study program, as there are many options for you when it comes to funding your education if you’re interested in tackling a job while in college.

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. The jobs are often connected to a student’s interests or field of study, and if you work on your college campus, the job will most likely have a connection to your college. If you work off campus, your employer will usually be a private nonprofit organization or a public agency, and the work performed must be in the public interest. It is up to the schools to request funding for the program and allocate that funding once it is disbursed by the federal government.

How much will I make?

You’ll earn at least the current federal minimum wage, but the amount might be higher depending on the type of work you do 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 must not be paid to Federal Work-Study students.

How will I be paid?

If you’re an undergraduate, you’ll be 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 request that the school 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’ll usually work for your school. If you work off campus, your employer will usually be a private nonprofit organization or a public agency. Some schools might have agreements with private for-profit employers for Federal Work-Study jobs, which must be judged relevant to your course of study (to the maximum extent possible). If you attend a proprietary school, there might be further restrictions on the jobs you can be assigned.

Can I work as many hours as I want?

No. The amount you earn can’t exceed your total Federal Work-Study award. When assigning work hours, your employer or financial aid administrator will consider your class schedule and your academic progress. Some schools have a limit on the number of hours you can work to make sure you’re not taking on more than you can handle, or even consider your academic record when allocating the funding and number of hours.

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