How to Determine Federal Work Study Eligibility

Instructor: Shelby Golden
Find out how to determine if you're eligible for a federal work-study job with this article. You can learn more about the steps you need to take to ascertain your eligibility, as well as how to go about applying for this program.

Eligibility for Federal Work-Study

Whether or not you qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program is based on financial need. You must fill out your Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) in order to find out if you are eligible. You can find this form on the official FAFSA website ( There are different deadlines for FAFSA applications depending on your state and school, so make sure you stay up-to-date on when your form is due. Check out's lesson on FAFSA tips for info on the steps involved in completing this important form.

Student Aid Report

After you complete your FAFSA, you'll receive your Student Aid Report (SAR). This will tell you about the kinds of financial aid you qualify for, and the amount of aid. The earliest you will receive your SAR is about 3-5 days following FAFSA submission, while the latest is after about three weeks.

Work-Study Options

If you find out that you are eligible for the Federal Work-Study Program, you'd probably like to know what your options are for work-study jobs. Options can vary from one school to the next. Some of these jobs are on campus, while other work-study jobs are not. It's important to keep in mind that work-study operates on a first-come, first-served basis; the earlier you take care of your FAFSA, the better your chances are for securing a work-study position. Check out the Understanding Your Work-Study Options lesson to learn more.

Work-Study Restrictions

Regardless of the kind of work-study job you get, the maximum amount of time you can work in one day is 8 hours, and no more than 40 hours in a week. You also need to maintain at least half-time status with your credits in order to keep a work-study position.

What If I'm Not Eligible?

If you discover that you don't qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program, don't fret. Check out the Financing Your College Education chapter to see how else you can get help with college expenses, such as through scholarships.

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