In order to defray the cost of college, many students find that they have to work part-time. In this lesson, we will explore two part-time employment opportunities for students: federal work-study jobs and campus employment.
Ben and Marty are best friends. They've been hanging out since they were kids and they're planning on going to college together in a couple of years. Neither of them is rich, though Ben's family is more middle class than Marty's. Either way, both of them know that they'll need to work to help pay for college.
College is expensive. College expenses include things like tuition, books, room and board, lab fees, and many other things. Many students, like Ben and Marty, find that they need a part-time job to make ends meet. Let's look at the job options available to Ben and Marty while at college: federal work study and campus employment.
Marty and Ben both need jobs at college. The good news is there are a lot of options. One of the options is the Federal Work Study Program, which is a form of financial aid that allows college students to earn money for work, usually on campus. Because it is a type of financial aid, there are eligibility requirements. For example, Marty's family income is low, so he qualifies for work study, but Ben doesn't. So how exactly does work study work? There are several steps that Marty has to go through in order to earn money.
1. Fill out the FAFSA. A FAFSA is the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. It's the document that helps the government figure out what loans, grants, and work study money each student should be getting. Marty and students like him can fill this out online and as the name suggests, submitting a FAFSA is free.
2. Apply for a work study job. Once Marty receives his financial aid letter, which includes his work study award, he should look for a work study job on his college campus. This could be in an academic department or in another organization on campus. He could end up as a research assistant, giving tours of the campus, or many other jobs. He can typically find work study jobs through the website of his school's employment office.
3. Work. After Marty gets a work study job, he'll work certain hours per week, which will be agreed upon by him and his boss. He'll be paid an hourly rate, usually near minimum wage. However, everyone's work study award has a limit, so Marty can't work too many hours or he'll run out of aid before the end of the semester. Because Marty qualifies for work study, he should make sure that the college he's applying to offers work study positions. Though most reputable colleges do, he should ask the financial aid office at the school to make sure.
So Marty's got a work study job; good for him! But Ben didn't qualify for work study. Does that mean he's just out of luck? Not at all! Even without work study, there are often jobs available on campus. Ben can get a job as a research assistant, working in the student book store, as a resident assistant, or many other jobs. Non-work study campus employment does not have any income eligibility requirements. That is, a student like Ben cannot be turned down for employment based on his parents' finances. Like Marty, Ben will likely be making close to minimum wage and they will likely be doing similar work. The major difference is, as we said, the fact that you have to be awarded work study funds, whereas campus employment doesn't require you to jump through any hoops other than simply applying for the job.
How can Ben find work on campus? His school's employment office or career center is a good place to start, as is his major department. For example, Ben wants to be an English major. He can check with the English department and see if there are any job openings. There might be a teaching assistant or research assistant position open with one of the professors or another job in the department that Ben can apply for.
College is expensive. To help defray the cost, many students work part time, either as part of the Federal Work Study Program or as part of campus employment. Work study positions require that you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, FAFSA, first, and then apply for the job after you've been awarded financial aid, whereas campus employment only requires that you apply for the job.
When this lesson is over, you should be able to:
- Understand the expensive nature if attending college
- Recognize how to apply for Work Study starting with FAFSA
- Identify the various campus employment opportunities