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Image from Pexels

Some of you may or may not have heard of work study. For those of you that do not know what it is, the Federal Work Study program, otherwise known as work study or FWS, is a program funded by the United States government to provide financial funding to students through a part time job. These jobs vary from secretarial work to lab work. It really depends on what you are looking for. This is a good opportunity for students to not only get financial help, but also work experience that could be added to your resume. Sounds awesome, right? Here is more information on what it is and how to get it.

Do I Qualify?

Sorry international students, but work study is only available for U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals,  or U.S. permanent residents. (Those who have Arrival-Departure Records can also qualify!) Other than that, if you require financial aid and you fall under these categories, whether or not you are a part time or full time student, you qualify.  However, this program is administered through your school, so check with your school to know whether or not it participates in this program.

How Do I Get It?

Next, you must then apply for federal assistance through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) program. When you fill out the application, check the option that asks whether or not you would like to participate in the work study program. However, if you did not do that, you can still get work study. Each college has a deadline for work study. Check on your school’s website to find out the deadline. It’s best that you apply early though because it’s usually a first come first serve kind of thing.

What Kind of Work Can I Have?

It really depends on the school you go to and where you go to school because you can get work study jobs on and off campus. It’s best that you pick a job related to your major. For example, if you are a biology major, find a job in the lab because it can give you experience in the field you would like to go into as well as possible connections for the future. If you work off campus, the organisation you will work for is most likely a non profit organisation that helps the public.

How Much Can I Make?

It depends on when you apply, how much funding your school receives, how much you were given based on your financial needs. However, you will earn at least the current federal minimum wage. How much you get also depends on the job you get depending on your skills and type of work you will be doing. You can work as many hours as you want as long as it does not go over your work study award, meaning you won’t be able to earn over the amount you were given for your financial aid. Don’t worry about not finding a job that will fit your schedule, your employer will consider your schedule.

How Will I Be Paid?

This will differ for undergraduate and graduate students. For undergraduate students, you will be paid the hour. You will receive your pay directly, unless you ask for them to put it into your bank account or use it to pay for your educational related charges, from the school at least once a month.

How Should I Prepare To Find a Job?

Your school may or may not have a job fair in the beginning of the year that will allow you to find work study jobs. If you do not have a resume, make one so that you can bring it to the representatives. Even if you have one already, have someone check it over to make sure it is good. Also dress professionally when you go meet the representatives. Prepare some questions that you would like to ask them as well. Know what you are getting into!

How Many Jobs Should I Apply To?

Do not limit yourself and only apply to one or two jobs. Apply to around five to ten because some of them may not call you back and you want options. But when you do this, apply to jobs that are relevant to your major and future career. It wouldn’t be helpful whatsoever if you apply for a lab position if you are a cinema major.



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the author

Chloe is currently a student studying at a international school in Hong Kong. Her favorite subjects are biology and chemistry. When she is not cramming for her tests or rushing to finish her homework, she enjoys scrolling through Tumblr, checking Instagram, and watching TV shows (Castle fan over here!) religiously. Her obsessions include Grumpy Cat and K-pop.

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