The scoop on work-study jobs

Get a job on campus through work-study, and you’ll find flexibility along with a paycheck that you can put toward tuition or living expenses

The scoop on work-study jobs

Who knew books for classes cost so much?

Luckily, a part-time job is just a hop, skip, and jump away from your dorm room when you work on your college campus.

Working on campus part time through the Federal Work Study Program can be an ideal way to defray college expenses, like books or personal spending money, and build your resumé at the same time.

To be eligible for work-study jobs, you must demonstrate financial need through the FAFSA. If you qualify, your financial aid award letter will specify an award amount. That’s how much you can earn within an academic year.

Hours and wages
Through work-study, you could work as few as five hours per week or as many as 20 hours per week, depending on the job. How much you work depends on how much your work-study award allows you to earn.

In most cases, campus employers allow students quite a bit of flexibility in deciding when and how much to work.

If you want to earn more than your allotted work-study award amount, it is worth investigating with your employer if you can be hired as a part-time employee. But have this conversation after you are already working.

Wages for work-study positions depend on the position you are seeking, but employers are required to pay at least the minimum wage.

Scoping out campus jobs

Try using your work-study job as an opportunity to investigate your career options. For example, if you are considering becoming a nurse or doctor, why not work in the student health center? Or, if you think you’d like to be a Web developer, you might try the Office of Communications or see if any campus office or department is hiring a student for Web site work. Look into tutoring if you are interested in teaching, or being a research assistant for a professor in your major field if you plan to pursue graduate study.

The best on-campus work-study employers

Career services office
Perks: You can research a myriad of career fields and be among the first students on campus to learn about part-time and full-time jobs and internships.

Campus library
Perks: You will be able to navigate the library much quicker when you do research papers. And if you work at the front desk, you might be able to read for classes during non-peak times.

Perks: If you become a resident assistant (RA), you might be able to get free board, and you will know everyone in your dorm—perfect for a social butterfly.

Study Abroad Office
Perks: If you have considered studying, volunteering or working abroad, all of the information about your options will be at your fingertips.

Elaina Loveland ( is the author of two books for high school and college students: Creative Colleges: A Guide for Student Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers and Creative Careers: Paths for Aspiring Actors, Artists, Dancers, Musicians and Writers. For more tips on paying for college, visit


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