Cash for College: Work Study

Federal Work-Study provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study. In order to qualify you will need to fill out the FAFSA.

Federal Work-Study:

  • Provides part-time employment while you are enrolled in school.
  • Is available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with financial need.
  • Is available to full-time or part-time students.
  • Is administered by schools participating in the Federal Work-Study Program. Check with your school’s financial aid office to find out if your school participates.

Federal Work-Study jobs can be on or off campus. Students who work on campus usually work for their school. Students who work off campus are usually employed by a private nonprofit organization or a public agency, and the work performed must be in the public interest.

Some schools might have agreements with private for-profit employers for work-study jobs. These jobs must be relevant to your course of study (to the maximum extent possible). If you attend a proprietary school (i.e., a for-profit institution), there may be further restrictions on the types of jobs you can be assigned.

Students who participate in work-study will earn at least minimum wage.  However, you may earn more depending on the type of work you do and the skills required for the position.

Your total work-study award depends on:

  • when you apply,
  • your level of financial need, and
  • your school’s funding level.

Money received from work-study will be paid to you directly unless you request that the school send your payments directly to your bank account or use the money to pay for your education-related expenses such as tuition, fees, and room and board. How you are paid depends partly on whether you’re an undergraduate or graduate student. If you are an undergraduate student, you are usually paid by the hour. If you are a graduate or professional student, you will be paid by the hour or by salary, depending on the work you do. Note that your school must pay you at least once a month.