How to Apply for Work Study

Instructor: Donna Smith
Work-study is a federal program available to college students who need financial aid to assist with expenses. This type of award allows students to pursue a flexible form of part-time employment that fits around their course schedules.

Applying for Work-Study

When you fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), there is a section where you can request work-study. Some schools also allow you to apply for work-study through their financial aid or financial services office. The funds for work-study are limited, so it's important that you apply early to be considered.

To be eligible for work-study, you must be currently enrolled as an undergraduate or graduate student. You must also demonstrate financial need, which is determined by a combination of factors that include the cost of attendance and your family's income. This determination will be made once you fill out your FAFSA.

Receiving Work-Study Funding

Your work-study funding is part of your overall financial aid package. Your college will send an award letter with the work-study amount you can earn during the academic year. If you don't initially receive work-study as part of your financial aid, you can ask to be put on a waiting list in case funds become available.

Seeking Work-Study Positions

Many colleges post work-study employment opportunities on their websites. Work-study jobs are available on campus as well as off campus with non-profit organizations and public agencies. A few schools let students take jobs at for-profit companies, but these positions must fit with their major and be approved by the school. Here are some examples of on-campus jobs:

  • Tutor
  • Cafeteria worker
  • Desk attendant
  • Resident assistant
  • Lifeguard
  • Building and grounds keeper

Work-Study Restrictions

You can only work with employers who are approved to participate in the work-study program, and you aren't guaranteed your financial allotment until you're hired for a job. Additionally, work hours are limited to eight hours a day or 20 hours a week, and your earnings must not exceed the amount of your work-study award. Furthermore, your funding can be cancelled if you don't find or maintain employment.

Additional Work-Study Information

If you'd like to learn more about this and other forms of financial aid,'s How to Apply for College Grants & Scholarships course covers topics ranging from FAFSA tips and work-study options to grant and scholarship applications. While you're at it, you can also look into other financial considerations for attending college and learn how to save money on tuition by earning transfer credit. The course is entirely self-paced, and you can get help from instructors and guidance counselors if you have questions about any of the material.

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