If your student has looked into the variety of college funding options available, work-study has probably come up. Understanding what work-study is and how it works is an important part of knowing if this is a good option for your child.
While parents may be concerned about a student being distracted from school, work-study programs are often very flexible and take student schedules and exams into account.
Discover if work-study can be a good option for your student!
How to Qualify for Work-Study Programs In College
Students qualify for work-study through the FAFSA. It’s not simply an on-campus job, it’s a specific type of work that is considered financial aid.
You must check the box on FAFSA to be considered for work study! From the government FAFSA website: “The Federal Work–study Program provides jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay educational expenses. Select Yes if you are interested in being considered for work–study.”
A student can still qualify for a work-study even if they don’t check the work-study box on the FAFSA, but the process will be delayed. As a result, the school may run out of money before your student applies for a work-study job.
Being eligible for work-study does not guarantee that your student will get a work-study job. They must apply and win the job.
How to Apply and Work with a Work-Study Program
Once a student has been approved for work-study, they need to apply for the work-study jobs available on campus. Each school has their own process and the number of jobs available will vary from institution to institution.
Once a work-study job is secured, the student must work the required hours to be paid. The hours per week will be limited based on the amount of work-study awarded. The money will be paid directly to the student, and is subject to income tax.
The benefits of work-study are that they can fill in for student loans, allowing a student to have less debt. Also, the income is considered financial aid, and therefore the money doesn’t count against the student’s ability to get future financial aid.
Is a Work-Study Right for Your Student?
Some students prefer to forgo work-study so that they can work other jobs during school. This can allow them to work more hours and earn more money.
However, many students find that outside jobs are less understanding about school schedules. Sometimes getting to a job off-campus can be a challenge, if your child doesn’t have a car. Depending on the circumstances, they may find a work-study to be the perfect fit.
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