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What's Work-Study? Working on Campus

What is work-study?

The Federal Work-Study program allows university students work on campus and earn financial aid for college. It is a need-based program, where the federal government and the college or university each share the cost of employing students.


How do I apply for work-study?

College students who are interested in having a work-study program be part of their financial aid package have to fill out and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Make sure that you answer "yes" to the question that asks if you are interested in student employment. Some colleges might require you to submit other financial aid documents, but filling out the FAFSA is the first step. Keep in mind that the FAFSA needs to be completed by a certain date, usually March 1.

Once you have been notified that you are eligible for work study, be proactive and begin looking for a job on campus. Don't just apply for one position; pursuing multiple jobs will give you more options. Most colleges and universities work on a first-come, first-served basis when it comes to work-study positions, so apply early, and follow up with the departments that interest you.

Who is eligible for work-study?

Contact your school's financial aid office to learn more about work-study eligibility requirements. Financial aid eligibility from year to year is not guaranteed. Work-study students have to resubmit the FAFSA each year to determine their financial aid status.

What will I earn?

It can vary by college but the Federal Work-Study program requires that students get paid at least the current federal minimum wage. The number of hours you typically work will be based around your class schedule and your employer's need.

What are the benefits of a work-study job?

  • You'll receive financial aid for your college education and personal expenses.
  • You'll gain work experience and be able to explore different career paths.
  • Working on campus will help you become familiar with your college or university.
  • Professional networking opportunities will allow you to meet valuable references to add to your resume.
  • Your work schedule will be flexible enough for you to focus on your classes.
  • The wages you earn will not count towards the following year's student contribution section of the FAFSA.

Get more work-study tips from Saint Louis University.