You might notice your student’s financial aid package includes an offer for work-study. That sounds great, but what exactly does it mean?
Work-study is a type of federal financial aid provided by the U.S. Department of Education. In order to be eligible for work-study, a student must submit the FAFSA and demonstrate financial need.
Work-study programs provide part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students in order to help cover expenses while attending school at least part-time. Usually, these part-time jobs are with offices on campus, but there are some instances where work-study positions are off campus.
Students earn at least the current federal minimum wage, and those earnings are not credited to a student’s account in advance. Work-study funds are paid directly to the student at least once a month after completing the scheduled hours for that pay period. This is important to remember when planning to pay for tuition costs.
To find a work-study position, students should contact either the school’s Human Resources department or Career Center for more information. There are staff members available to help eligible students find a work-study job.
It’s never too early to find a work-study job! First-time students who receive work-study in their financial aid package can contact the school over the summer before the semester starts to find out about work-study openings. A lot of offices around campus also reserve spots for first-time students and will look to hire within the first few weeks of the semester once students arrive to campus. Encourage your student not to procrastinate if he or she is eligible to find a work-study position.
How many hours is too much? Students typically work up to 20 hours per week in a work-study position. Working more than 20 hours per week as a full-time student requires exceptional time management skills. Working too many hours can detract focus from classes, and as a result, reflect poorly on a student’s grades. Consider sitting down with your student to have a conversation about time management and balancing work with classes. It’s important for students to understand how much time they can commit to working without affecting their grades.
Visit the Federal student aid website to learn more about the work-study program.