What Is Work-Study: A Guide for Students

What Is Work-Study: A Guide for Students
Work-study is a government program for college students with financial needs. This student aid program helps students get part-time jobs that cover some college costs. Students must fill out the free application.

An Opportunity for students to serve fellow students. This opportunity is meant to entrench student mentorship; leadership and talent development; opportunity for experiential learning; and support for needy students. 

A Work-Study Program (WSP) is a formal arrangement organized by the University in which registered students while studying, are attached to a University Department or collaborating Industry/Government/Private Sector/Civil Society partner. It allows the student to acquire deep work-relevant skills which help students better transit to the workplace. It also provides an opportunity for students to offer their services, part-time, while engaging in their studies and enables needy students to earn some income to help settle their fee arrears and some for upkeep.

Learn more about work-study, how it works, and how students apply below.

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What Is Work-Study?

Work-study is a government-funded program that helps undergraduate, graduate, and professional students earn money while completing their degrees. It provides part-time jobs that help pay for education expenses.

This program is available to part-time or full-time students. It promotes community service work and jobs related to a student’s degree.

Basic information about the program:

  • The Department of Education gives money to schools (colleges and universities) that want to participate in the program.
  • Schools decide which students receive work-study as part of their financial package.
  • Schools also determine how much money a student can earn in the program.
  • Students obtain work-study jobs on-campus or in the community.
Every work-study job comes with government funds that the school can use to pay students. As a result, schools have a huge incentive to participate in this program.

What Kinds of Jobs Are Available?

Students may have trouble locating work-study options due to location, school offerings and other factors. The student employment office can help students learn more about what is available on-campus, so talk to them as soon as possible to find an open position.

Most students aim to secure positions that relate to their course of study. For instance, if you’re studying to become a teacher, you might want a work-study job at a local elementary school that lets you help children with reading or math skills.

How Much Can You Make?

When applying for work-study, students receive a fixed amount that they are eligible to make for that school year. 

How Many Hours Are You Supposed to Work?

The type of job and the employer’s expectations will dictate how much students work.

Students aren’t allowed to work as many hours as they’d like. The Work-Study award will indicate a set number of hours. Typically, this number will fall between 10 to 20 hours per week.

When assigning hours for work, the employer or financial aid office will look at a student’s course schedule and academic standing.

Is Work-Study Right for You?

Students must locate and secure their positions through the work-study program. Finding a job is difficult in some areas, especially if it is a school in a small community. Students that accept work-study but don’t find a position won’t be able to use this type of financial aid.

Work-study is a great way to obtain practical experience, and students that earn money while in school may reduce their reliance on student loans. However, it can also add stress to a college experience, primarily if the hours worked or pay is meager. This does little to ease the financial burden.

Consider your priorities and individual situation before accepting a work-study position.
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