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Maximizing Your Federal Work-Study Experience: A Guide for Students

Updated 19/12/2023
Federal Work-Study in a lab

The Federal Work-Study Program is available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students with financial need and to full-time or part-time students.  It emphasizes employment in civic education and/or work related to your course of study whenever possible. Utilizing the Federal Work-Study Program (FWSP) can help you achieve two goals during your college experience, a chance to earn money and gain practical skills. To make the most of this opportunity, consider the following factors:


Work-Study Award Limits


Be aware that your earnings for Federal Work-Study are capped at the amount specified in your award letter. This figure is determined by factors such as your financial need, application timing, and your school’s funding level. Balancing work-study with your academic commitments is key, so choose a workload that is manageable within the awarded amount.


Application Process


Not all schools participate in the Federal Work-Study Program, so check with your financial aid office to confirm availability. When completing the FAFSA, indicate your interest in work-study. Apply early, as funds may be limited. Remember, applying does not guarantee a job or a spot in the program.


Job Search Strategies


Securing a federal work-study position is your responsibility. Start the process early by consulting academic advisors, professors, and the career services center. Explore online job boards provided by your school and attend work-study job fairs if available. Act swiftly to increase your chances of finding a suitable position.


Types of Work-Study Jobs


There is much diversity in work-study opportunities. Positions can range from tutoring and research roles to journal editing. Your work setting might be on-campus, off-campus with a public agency or nonprofit, or with a private for-profit employer partnered with your school. Explore options that align with your interests and schedule.


The Federal Work-Study Program offers an excellent chance to earn income and develop practical skills. By incorporating these considerations into your approach, you can make the most of this valuable opportunity. For more information, you can get more information at the Department of Education.


Note: FAFSA® is a registered trademark of the US Department of Education and is not affiliated with Monogram LLC.