What Is Work Study? | Complete Information

A federal program that helps college students in need secure part-time employment is called work study. Work study is a program that is sometimes funded by the state and sometimes by the federal government. It helps college students who need it find part-time jobs.

Although it won’t pay for all of your college expenses—you’ll also need a combination of private savings, scholarships, grants, and student loans—it’s advantageous for students who qualify.

According to Megan Fitz Gibbon, manager of state scholarship programs at the Minnesota Office of Higher Education, “Work experience at any level while you’re in college is going to be a benefit.” especially if it has to do with your degree.

Federal work study

To be eligible, you must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).

Typically, students are in charge of finding their own work study jobs. You are not necessarily assured employment just because your financial aid award says that you are eligible for work study.

Federal Work Study
Federal Work Study

The U.S. Department of Education estimates that 3,400 colleges and universities participate in the federal work study program, but not all of them do. To find out if the schools you’re interested in offer work study, contact their financial aid offices.

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Federal Student Aid Types

1# Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants

Award amount: A supplemental grant between $100 and $4,000 for the year, depending on availability at each school.

Eligibility: Undergraduate students with exceptional financial need Pell Grant recipients take priority.

Repayment: None required

2# Pell Grants

Award amount: Up to $6,895 for the year in 2023. The amount you receive from the Pell Grant depends on factors such as need, cost of attendance and enrollment status.

Eligibility: Undergraduate students with exceptional financial need who have not earned a bachelor’s or graduate degree Students in a post-baccalaureate teacher certification program Students with parents killed in Iraq or Afghanistan after 9/11 could be eligible for more Pell Grant funding

Repayment: None required

3# Teacher Education Assistance for College and Higher Education Grants

Award amount: A supplemental grant of up to $4,000 for the year. For any 2020–21 TEACH Grant first disbursed on or after Oct. 1, 2020, and before Oct. 1, 2021, the maximum award of $4,000 is reduced by 5.7% ($228), resulting in a maximum award of $3,772.

Eligibility: Students planning to become teachers at the undergraduate, post-baccalaureate and graduate levels Must perform four years of qualifying teaching service

Repayment: None required. But if a student fails to carry out a teaching service obligation, the grant converts to a Direct un-subsidized loan.

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4# Federal Work Study

Award amount: There are no annual minimum or maximum amounts awarded to students who work under the Federal work study program.

Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate students who work part-time jobs on campus or off campus while attending school

Repayment: Students earn money through work, so any amount earned does not have to be repaid.

5# Direct Subsidized Student Loan

Award amount: Loan limits are lower than those for unsubsidized student loans. Of the $31,000 aggregate loan limit for dependent students or the $57,500 aggregate loan limit for independent students, no more than $23,000 may be in subsidized loans. The Department of Education pays interest on the loans while borrowers are in college.

Eligibility: Undergraduate borrowers enrolled at least half-time with demonstrated financial need.

Repayment: Standard 10-year repayment begins six months after leaving school. Borrowers begin paying interest on the loan when repayment begins. Alternative repayment options include graduated, extended, or income-driven repayment.

6# Direct Un-Subsidized Student Loan

Award amount: Loan limits are higher than those for subsidized student loans. The aggregate limits are $31,000 for dependent students and $57,500 for independent students. If combining unsubsidized students loans with subsidized, no more than $23,000 of either aggregate limit may be subsidized. For graduate and professional studewnts, the annual limit is $20,500. The overall limit, including undergraduate loans is $138,500. Interest accrues on this loan once the amount is disbursed.

Eligibility: Undergraduate and graduate borrowers enrolled at least half-time Borrowers without demonstrated financial need.

Repayment: Standard 10-year repayment begins six months after leaving school. Borrowers may consider paying interest while enrolled. Alternative repayment options include graduated, extended, or income-driven repayment.

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7# Direct PLUS Loan

Award amount: The limit of a Federal PLUS loan is the cost of attendance minus any other financial aid a student receives.

Eligibility: Parents of undergraduate borrowers enrolled at least half-time Borrowers enrolled at least half-time in a graduate or professional degree program Borrowers without an adverse credit history.

Repayment: Must be repaid, with interest, once loan is disbursed. Repayment is a standard 10-year plan. All borrowers have other repayment options, including extended or graduated plans. Direct PLUS loan borrowers in a graduate or professional degree program may enroll in income-driven plans. Parents with PLUS loans can consolidate into an income-contingent repayment plan.

How to Apply for Federal Work Study

If you wish to be considered for work study, check the option on the FAFSA application when you fill it out. Because some financial aid is distributed on a first-come, first-served basis, you should fill the FAFSA as soon as you can.

By choosing this option, you are not obligated to accept work study if it is offered, nor does it ensure that it will be included in your financial assistance package.

How to Apply for Federal Work Study
How to Apply for Federal Work Study

You will receive a financial aid award indicating the amounts you are eligible for from loans, grants, and work study within a few weeks or months of submitting the FAFSA. Based on available funds, student financial need, and other financial help a student may be eligible for, colleges determine how much work study money to award.

Even while your financial aid award letter may indicate that a certain sum, such as $5,000, has been designated for work study, this does not guarantee that you will get it. Find a job that qualifies for work study work, and then put in the hours necessary to reach that income.

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Can I take the work study aid?

You can refuse a financial aid award if it includes work study and you don’t plan to use it. However, in the majority of situations, taking a work study position is a smart move, particularly if it lowers the amount of student debt you’ll have after graduation and the amount of student loans you borrow.

Austin Gentry, an admissions assistant at New Mexico State University, says that before students turn to loans, “we would much rather have them turn to grants, work study, or any other source of aid.”

Where can i find an eligible work study job?

Once a work study opportunity has been provided to you, you must find a job that is compatible with the program.

Numerous work study positions are available on campus and may involve serving as a research assistant, performing office campus tasks, or working in a library. Off-campus work study jobs at for-profit businesses or nonprofits are also possible. Community service jobs, such tutoring, child care, and health care, make up a fraction of work study roles.

Students are encouraged to apply for jobs that are linked to their field of study through the several institutions’ online job portals that list work study opportunities. Flexible hours are a benefit of work study jobs, making it easier to reconcile work and school.

Although some businesses make exceptions, generally speaking, you can only make as much money through work study as the financial assistance award allows.

For instance, if your award included $5,000 in work study funds, you might put in as many hours as necessary to reach that goal. However, say you reached that amount with only two weeks left in the semester. Depending on the job, some can let you keep working for the rest of the semester and take home more money, according to Gentry.

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How does work study pay?

To pay for tuition, fees, or room and board, you can choose to receive payment by check, direct deposit, or by having the funds credited to your school account. FitzGibbon says that many students use their work study salaries to pay for their daily living expenses, but there is no obligation that you utilize the money for anything in particular.

Average work study award

You are ensured to earn at least the $7.25 per hour federal minimum wage with a work study job. If the state minimum wage is higher, you will earn at least the state minimum wage.

According to the annual Sallie Mae report “How America Pays for College,” the average work study award for a student with an eligible job earned $1,531 in 2022. According to the study, 20% of families used work study as a part of their total report to pay for college.

Affect of work study on future financial aid

You must include the money you make from work study in two different areas on your FAFSA the following year since it is taxable. First, when you report your total yearly income from employment, include your work study earnings.

financial aid
financial aid

Second, a further question asks how much money you earned from work study in the preceding academic year. Because the money you earn from work study won’t be taken into account when calculating how much aid you’ll be eligible for the following year, fill out that form as well.

Final Step

Fill out the FAFSA. On October 1, 2021, the application for the 2023 academic year will be accessible. If you’ve already received approval for the work study program, inquire about job postings at your college.

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