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Getting a Jump Start on Work-Study Opportunities Can Pay Off
Since some colleges start posting available work-study positions as early as the summer, students looking for first dibs on campus jobs in the fall can get a leg up on their competition by hammering out that perfect résumé and cover letter now. According to NextStudent, a leading Phoenix-based education funding company, work-study programs can be a great option for students who need a little help meeting their college expenses.
The Federal Work-Study Program makes part-time jobs available for both undergraduate and graduate students with qualifying financial need. A work-study job allows students to earn a paycheck while usually still giving them enough flexibility to navigate their class schedule. Students might work on campus or off, honing in on a career in a job related to your major, or testing out a new career path by stepping into a position completely different from anything they’ve done before. Work-study jobs are required to pay at least the current federal minimum wage, but students might earn more, depending on the type of work they choose and the skills they bring to the table.
The Advantages of Work-Study
Flexibility. Work-study jobs are often much more flexible than other part-time work. Where students in non–work-study jobs might run into long work days or overtime that can compete with school, work-study employers tend to be more accommodating, offering less rigid hours, especially around midterms and finals. And to help keep work-study from interfering with classes, schools will typically cap an undergraduate student’s work week at 20 hours.
Convenience. Students who snag a work-study job on-campus pretty much have it made. They save on gas money, they can take a ten-minute walk to work straight out of class or out of bed, and they can make plans to meet their friends back at the dorm another ten-minute walk after their shift ends.
Variety. Since work-study can take place either on- or off-campus, students have a wealth of options available to them. Work-study positions can range from research assistants to elementary school tutors to art gallery docents. Some financial aid counselors and work-study employers will encourage students to apply for those opportunities related to their major or to their field of interest And if students can’t find a work-study position they like, they can always go to a campus department to discuss creating a new position that fits their skill set.
Experience. Work-study allows students to start building their work history while still in school, and can help put them a couple steps ahead of those students who chose not to work. When the post-graduation job-hunting starts, prospective employers may look more favorably on graduates who were able to balance the demands of their schooling with the scheduling requirements of work.
Applying for Work-Study
Students interested in work-study positions must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and mark “yes” when asked if they are interested in student employment. To qualify, students will need to demonstrate sufficient financial need, enroll in a minimum number of credit hours, and meet other requirements.
Students who qualify for work-study will be notified by their university’s financial aid office. A work-study award is not a guarantee of employment, so students need to be diligent about pursuing and applying for available work-study positions. Students who don’t receive a work-study award and believe they are eligible to receive one should make an appointment with a financial aid counselor to discuss their options. Some schools may offer to put students on a waiting list.
NextStudent believes that getting an education is the best investment you can make, and it is dedicated to helping you pursue your education dreams by making college funding simple. Learn more about Student Loans (http://www.nextstudent.com), Private Student Loans (http://www.nextstudent.com/private_loans/private_loans.asp) and Student Loan Consolidation (http://www.nextstudent.com) at NextStudent.com.
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