Pay for College with a Federal Work Study Job
A great way to help pay for college is through the federal work study program which is 1 of the 4 types of financial aid. Not only do you obtain a paying job but also work experience. My experience as a federal work study student has been invaluable. I started in admissions and then moved into financial aid. The experience I gleaned as a work study student opened up new opportunities in higher education post college graduation. Several years removed from college, I’m still benefiting from my time spent as a work study student. I also know many others who have the same experience I did as a work study student. Let’s dive in and discuss just exactly what federal work study is and how you can apply for it.
Federal work study is a program provided by the federal government to help fund college education. Essentially it is a part-time job with no more than 20 working hours per week. This allows time for class, studying, and extra-curricular activities. Work study positions vary and can be on or off campus. These positions can also be in the same area as your major or interests. The work study program is for students with financial need. This is determined by the completion of your FAFSA and the packaging of your financial aid.
How to Apply for a Federal Work Study Job
As mentioned previously the work study program is provided to those who show financial need. The financial aid office will determine your financial need using your FAFSA information and their cost of attendance. If you do show financial need that doesn’t mean you will automatically get a work study position. Federal work study jobs are very competitive. There are a limited number of these positions at each college. FWS is awarded to those with financial need on a first come first serve basis.
If you are interested in a federal work study job, the first thing you should do is file the FAFSA as soon as it is released in October. When filing your FAFSA, you will want to answer “YES” to the question “Are you interested in being considered for work-study?” If you are awarded federal work study, it will be posted on your award letter.
The amount you see on your award letter is not a guaranteed amount. This amount usually indicates what you cannot exceed in federal work study funds. Also the amount of federal work study varies based on the pay rate of your position and amount of hours you work.
Definitely accept the federal work study award on your award letter. Your next step will be to apply and interview for a federal work study job. All colleges place work study students differently. Some colleges automatically place you while others have a job application you will need to complete as well as an interview process. The interview is basically for the work study coordinator to get to know you and your interests in order to place you in the best possible work study position.
I really hope you read this blog post and take action. A federal work study job is essentially money on the table waiting for you. Not only that, it is an opportunity that could open a whole new world for you. A launching pad, you might say, to a career after graduating from college. See if you qualify for a federal work study job using the checklist below.
- File the FAFSA
- Mark “Yes” to work-study question
- Accept FWS award on award letter (if awarded)
- Complete Federal Work Study Job application (if required)
- Interview for FWS position (if required)
If you like this checklist, get our College Bound Checklist. In this checklist you will get the exact 5 steps we use when assisting our clients through the college admissions and financial aid process. The College Bound Checklist takes you step-by-step through the entire process. This list is also full of great resources. Did I mention it is free? You can't pass up free!