Financial Aid

What is Federal Work-Study?

Learn what federal work study is, how students quality for the program, and what to do if you receive it as part of your financial aid.
Student learning about federal work-study

Federal work-study is a part-time work program that allows college students to earn a paycheck throughout the academic year. Students apply for work-study by submitting the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®). The college financial aid office determines which students may participate in the work-study program based on each family's financial circumstances and the federal financial aid formula and the student is then notified of the offer in their financial aid offer.

A work-study offer is an offer of employment to the student. They are not obligated to participate in the program, nor are they guaranteed a job. Those interested in working will receive information about applying for work-study positions from the college financial aid or student employment office in the spring or summer before the fall semester begins. Quite simply, students earn money for the hours that they work.

As families evaluate financial aid offers, they should keep in mind that the work-study funds will not help to pay the college bill, as grants and loans will, but can be used for additional incidental college expenses as paychecks are received throughout the year.

Why does this matter to you?

If you received federal work-study on your financial aid offer, it's important to understand the logistics of how this type of financial aid works. As your family puts together a plan to pay the college bill, knowing when and how you'll receive each component of your financial aid will allow you to make the best financing decisions.

Find out what to do if you don't receive work-study