Paying for College with a Work Study Program

Work study programs can help students pay for college tuition. Learn more about how work study programs operate and find out how you can apply for work study funds to cover college expenses.

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Work Study Program Defined

A work study program is a form of financial aid that allows students to earn money for college from part-time employment. There are two basic types of work study programs: federal work study and non-federal work study. These programs are flexible, and work can be scheduled around a student's course requirements.

Federal Programs

These work study programs are sponsored by the federal government. To be eligible for a federal work study program, students must meet specific requirements and demonstrate financial need. The federal work study program encourages community service jobs or work that is somehow related to the recipient's field of study. Pay is dependent on the job, but will be equal to or higher than federal minimum wage. Students can apply for a federal work study program when they fill out the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Non-Federal Programs

Non-federal work study programs are very similar to federal work study programs. The only difference is the funding source. Non-federal work study programs are typically financed by the school. Employment is available as funding allows. Non-federal work study programs tend to be good options for students who do not qualify for federal programs because eligibility is rarely based on financial need. Jobs are often on-campus, but off-campus positions may also be available. Students can apply for these programs by speaking with their school's financial aid office.

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