Student participating in the federal work-study program.

Are you worried about the cost of college? It’s not just tuition that you need to worry about. There are also expenses for meals, books, supplies, and other activities that can quickly add up. But don’t worry, there are ways to reduce the amount of money you have to pay upfront, such as the use of scholarships, grants, federal loans, and in some cases, private loans. Another option is to participate in the Federal Work-Study program.

What Is the Federal Work-Study Program?

The federal work-study program (FWS) is offered by around 3,400 post-secondary education institutions in the U.S. It provides part-time employment for college students while they are on campus, helping to fund their education. It is available to those with demonstrated financial need.

Students can earn money by working on campus or in other approved locations, with the amount of the award dependent on the level of the student’s financial aid and the funding available through the school.

There are other benefits of the federal work-study program as well. It can encourage students to engage in community service work, and it can help them gain core skills in their field of study, potentially improving employment opportunities in the future.

Who Is Eligible for Federal Work-Study?

FWS aims to create part-time work opportunities for students with financial need. To be eligible, students must be enrolled in a full or part-time college program or an accredited vocational school that participates in FWS. Students must also demonstrate financial need and complete and submit the FAFSA application.

Benefits of the Federal Work-Study Program

The Federal Work-Study program offers numerous benefits for many students. Most work-study jobs are located on the college campus, making commuting easier and sometimes unnecessary. FWS views income differently, meaning the money earned through the program does not affect your FAFSA application in the following year, allowing students to continue earning money without increasing their income on the FAFSA application.

For many students, one of the best benefits of the federal work-study program is the flexibility it provides. Managers of FWS positions recognize the need for students to work short shifts and have ample flexibility, often working around the student’s schedule better than a standard job. Additionally, the most desirable on-campus jobs are often part of the FWS program, making students in the program more likely to be hired for those positions.

First Steps

If you meet the eligibility requirements, you can apply for the federal work-study program through Federal Student Aid. It offers ample options in most areas, providing a role that offers flexibility and minimal commitment to work hours. Don’t let the cost of college hold you back – participate in the federal work-study program and start earning money while you learn.


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