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Everything You Need to Know About Work-Study

Last updated January 17, 2024

For many college students, working at least part-time is necessary to afford school and living expenses. The federal work-study program provides jobs to college students with financial need to help pay for such expenses! Here's everything you need to know about work-study. 

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What is work-study? 

Work-study is a federal student aid program that provides students at participating colleges with part-time jobs. 

How do I qualify?

Eligibility for work-study is determined once you've completed or renewed the FAFSA. On your FAFSA, you will be asked if you're interested in being considered for work-study. If you are, be sure to check "Yes." If your college participates in the work-study program, and you meet their eligibility requirements, you’ll see “Work-Study” listed on your financial aid award letter.

Note: Because work-study eligibility is determined by completing the FAFSA, undocumented students unfortunately do not qualify.

What kinds of work-study jobs are out there?

Work-study jobs typically vary by college. The opportunities offered can be both on and off-campus depending on your school and how many jobs are available. Here are some common work-study jobs:

Library Assistant

Working in a library might involve data entry, helping students find books and resources, supporting librarians, and checking resources in and out of the library. Since you’ll already be in the library, your work environment will likely be quiet and calming, and may even offer you time to read or do homework for your classes when it’s slow. This job will likely help hone your organizational and data management skills.

Research assistant

This kind of job is especially great if you've already chosen a major or want to explore a specific subject or area of study in more depth. You will most likely be paired with a graduate student and/or professor working on a specific course of study. You most likely will help with research, writing, and data entry. You may discover that you really love this subject and decide to explore it further!

Peer tutor

Are you highly confident in a specific subject area? Do you have a great system for studying and staying on top of all your work? Chances are there is a tutoring position available to you! If you’re interested in education, helping other students learn, and want to become great at explaining hard concepts, definitely keep the tutoring center in mind.

Fitness center assistant

A campus fitness center is a high-traffic place that could use work-study employees to support with reception, cleaning, and maintenance. If you like the atmosphere of a gym, this position may be for you!

Close up of a student at their desk. They have papers scattered across the desk and writing with a pen - Everything You Need to Know About Work-Study

How do I choose the best work-study job for me?

It’s up to you to decide what kind of jobs you want to apply for! Some work-study jobs are great because they provide flexible hours and convenient on-campus locations, while others will provide more career-oriented experiences. Here are some tips for landing the best job for you:

Start early

Head to your school's career center to learn about any available work-study positions. Narrow down the list of jobs you’re interested in to decide which ones you want to apply for. After that, make sure you have your job application materials (like your resume and cover letter) ready to begin submitting your applications!

Know your schedule

Be sure to keep things like your class and extracurricular schedules in mind when coinsidering or committing to a work-study job. Knowing when you will and won't be able to work in a week can help you narrow down your decision. 

Search from the heart

What are you interested in learning? What skills do you want to build? Being able to answer these questions and share your insights with someone in the career center can help you find the right work-study job for you.

Have more questions about work-study? Text #Jobs to 33-55-77 to chat with one of our advisors. If you're using a mobile device, click here to have the text message set up for you!

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