What is Work Study? – GradPlan

The 2024-25 Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), is now open. Learn more here.


What is Work Study?

Your financial aid package may include work study. Here’s what that means!

Federal Work-Study is a program that allows students to earn money by working part-time while they are in college. Work-Study is administered by your school’s financial aid office and the amount you earn is based on the Work-Study awarded in your financial aid package.

Why is Work Study Valuable?

Work Study jobs are usually on campus which gives you an opportunity to make more campus connections. You may also find it easier to secure a work-study position without prior job experience since your employer is used to working with students. Additionally,  your employer will likely respect your hours of availability because they want you to be a successful student. You might find a work study job at:


  • Library
  • Campus Wellness Center or Hospital
  • Academic Departments
  • Student Support Offices
Did You Know?

Students who report feeling connected to campus typically have higher graduation rates! Take advantage of all the ways you can connect to campus, like getting a work study job.


How Does It Work?

Work study is mostly awarded to students in their first year of college as a part of their financial aid package. When you apply for federal or state aid, work study is one of the types of awards along with grants and student loans. Unlike loans, you don’t have to pay it back. Unlike grants, it is not free; you have to work for it. But it will make it easier for you to get hired on campus and gain some work experience that will help you get your next job.

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How Do I Apply?

When you fill out your Federal Application For Student Aid (FAFSA), you will be considered for work study as well as for grants and loans. Try to submit your application as soon as possible when the application opens.  Some funding streams work on a first come, first serve basis. The earlier you apply, the more likely you are to get all available aid before funding begins to run out.

On the FAFSA application, it will ask if you are interested in being considered for work-study. Make sure to select ‘YES.’

Go to your college’s job board to look up work study jobs and apply. If you can’t find this, contact your school’s financial aid office.

Look for jobs that spark your interests or related to your major so that you can continue to explore career options.

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"Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today."

Malcolm X, human rights activist