When college students are looking for part time work, sometimes they forget that jobs can sometimes be found through the financial aid office. Most college work study programs are funded by federal and state governments. In most cases they are as easy to apply for as grants or loans. Being a work study student can increase your selection of jobs and make the job search process easier. Plus, in addition to getting you the money you need now, they can have a number of other benefits you might not expect.
How to Apply for College Work Study Programs
When you fill out the FAFSA application, there is a question that asks if you are interested in student loans and work-study programs. Check yes, even if you are unsure if these programs will be right for you. You are not under any obligation at this point, and will still have opportunities to accept or decline any kind of aid you are ultimately offered.
Apply early! Because funding for work-study programs is limited, offers tend to be made on a first come first served basis. Also know that these programs are considered need-based. So the two main factors going in to whether or not you receive an offer of work-study funds after you submit your FAFSA are; your level of financial “need” as determined by the federal government, and the timing with which your application was submitted. The first of these you can’t do much about, aside from making sure your FAFSA information is accurate. The second is in your hands, and could make the difference between obtaining a work-study position, or having to pay more loans back later.
Speak to the financial aid officers at your school. If you don’t see a work-study offer on your first award letter, find out why and see if there is a waiting list you can be placed on. If you are offered work-study funds, get as many details about the program and how it works when, or before, you accept them.
How to Find a College Work Study Job
After you’ve accepted your work-study award, you may find that the next step is a lot like any other job search. At most schools, you will have to select from a number of available positions, apply with applications and/or resumes, and go on interviews. As a student with a work-study award though, this process is made easier for you in a number of ways.
Not all on-campus jobs are work-study positions. But many are, and only students with work-study awards can apply for these. So a lot of opportunities will be open to you that wouldn’t be otherwise. And you will be competing with a much smaller group of other applicants.
You will have people to help you. Most universities have career counseling offices that can help you connect with those work-study positions. In many cases these offices coordinate with work-study directors in financial aid to make sure you have quick and easy access to postings and applications.
You also know that you are applying to employers who will be willing to work with your class schedule and school related events. This is one of the many benefits of having a work-study position. Part of what makes work-study a financial aid program is that the government grants money to the employers to help them hire students like you. That means that many of them would not be able to hire anyone otherwise, and are happy to take the time and scheduling needs of a full-time student into account as much as they are able.