Reducing Student Loan Debt with Work-Study Programs
Lower the amount of college loans you need by applying for work-study
Federal work-study, an integral part of the federal financial aid system, provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need (meaning not all students are eligible). The program gives students a way to pay for college while also giving them valuable career experience. Along with school loans, grants, scholarships and family savings, work-study jobs form the basis of most student support.
The program encourages community service work and jobs that are somehow related to the recipient's major course of study. Off-campus work-study positions generally are for nonprofit organizations or public agencies. Under federal law, all such work must be in the public interest.
Under the program, undergraduates are paid by the hour (at least minimum wage, but often higher, depending on the type of work and skills involved). Here are several other work-study requirements:
- No federal work-study student may be paid by commission or fee.
- Your school must pay you directly (unless you ask otherwise) and at least monthly.
- Work-study eligibility requires undergraduates to be enrolled for at least six hours per semester, and graduate students must be enrolled at least three hours.
- Student may not log any more than 39 hours a week in work-study jobs, although 20 hours a week is the recommended workload.
Jobs under the federal work-study program are usually quite school-friendly. Work hours are assigned with an eye to the student's class schedule, and the school's financial aid office generally ensures the amount you earn is consistent with the terms of your financial aid award. But the ultimate responsibility is still yours.
Check with the financial aid office at your school for details about getting federal work-study, which would be in your financial aid package if you are eligible.