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    Everything You Want To Know About Federal Work-Study Jobs

    Federal Work-Study jobs

    The Federal Work-Study program offers part-time and sometimes off-campus jobs to graduate and undergraduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to pay for their college education.  

    Read on to learn more about this advantageous program and how you can apply for assistance.

    What Is A Federal Work-Study Job?

    The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program is aimed at providing part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with a proven need for financial assistance. It helps them earn money while attending college to help fund their educational expenses. Most of the work is related to community service and connected to the student’s course. This aid is available for both full-time and part-time students. There are almost 3,400 registered institutions that are currently a part of this program.

    When a student enrolls in this program, they will be entitled to the minimum wage as set by the federal government. Students need to fill in the mandatory FAFSA form. Based on the details and the EFC (Expected Family Contribution), the FWS program will be listed alongside the FAFSA award, if eligible. 

    Top Things To Keep In Mind

    The Federal Work-Study Program is open to all students, however eligibility criteria may vary depending on the participating institution. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you apply for this program. 

    You Will Not Be Guaranteed A Job

    Even if you approved for the FWS funds, it is just the preliminary stage. If you wish to receive the funds, you’ll need to earn it. This means that you need to find a work-study job offered by your institution as each institution has its own criteria on how they allocate these funds. 

    While some schools may match you with available jobs, others require you to find the relevant job and apply for it. You’ll need to undergo interviews to prove eligibility. Either way, you’ll need to contact your school’s financial aid office to find out about the available jobs and application process.

    Some Of The Jobs Are Off Campus

    Some work-study jobs may be strictly on-campus such as working in the library or performing basic administrative tasks for management. However, the availability of on-campus jobs may be limited. Hence, work-study jobs also include off-campus jobs such as community service with not-for-profit organizations, tutoring young children, and more.

    Irrespective of the job type, you’ll earn the paycheck based on the number of working hours, just like a regular job. 

    It Is Not The Same As Other Types Of Financial Aid

    Although the work-study program is awarded as part of the need-based financial aid provided by the Federal Government, it is not the same as the rest. Most financial aid is directly applied to the cost of tuition and fees per academic year. However, the money you earn from the FWS program doesn't apply to direct costs. 

    These earnings are meant to assist you with day-to-day expenses that might arise during your degree and aren’t meant to cover large expenses like tuition and board. Moreover, unlike student loans, you don’t have to repay the money to the government.

    Earnings Do Not Count In Your FAFSA Calculation

    One of the major benefits of earning money through a work-study program is that these earnings aren’t taken into account when you fill the FAFSA form. The form itself provides a specific column asking the amount you earned during a financial year using the work-study program. When you fill the amount, it is factored out of the overall calculation. 

    Accordingly, it is important to fill in the right amount. If you’re unsure about how much you earned, make sure to get in touch with the college’s financial aid office.

    How To Apply 

    Here’s how you can send an application to be a part of the federal work-study program:

    1. Start by filing the FAFSA application.
    2. In order to receive financial aid, you must either be a US citizen, national, or a resident.
    3. Based on your application, the work-study program will be awarded alongside other financial assistance.
    4. Check with your college or university for job availability. 
    5. Apply as per the process.

    Bottom Line

    The Federal Work-Study Program provides additional need-based assistance that can help you cover education expenses. It doesn’t impact your eligibility for other financial aid based on your FAFSA application. However, keep in mind that the jobs are provided on a first come, first served basis and you’ll have to search and apply for available jobs on your own. 

    The money you earn is included in your adjusted gross income (AGI) and is subject to federal and state taxes. If you are enrolled in college full-time and work less than 20 hours a week, your income will be tax-free.

    Other than this, you can also apply for federal student loans, scholarships, and grants based on your need for funding. All of these options work in sync to help fund college education, and depending on your financial health, you may be eligible for one or multiple options.