Episode 4 [audio https://collegemoneyman.files.wordpress.com/2012/07/ep42-min-fws.mp3]
Hi, This is JR the College Money Man, giving you my Daily Scholarship and Financial Aid Tip in about two minutes.
This is episode 4 and today we talk about the Federal Work-Study Program, often just called work-study. Work Study is one of the 3 campus based financial aid programs that is offered by schools based on funds distributed the department of Ed. However among all the financial aid from the fed, work-study is the most unusual. The program is available to students at around 3400 schools, and it allows a student to work on campus and earn at least the state minimum wage. essentially, the federal government encourages schools to hire students to work on campus by footing part of the cost of a students employment. It offers an incentive to schools to hire students, as they spend a fraction of the dollars for the same worker that McDonald’s would.
Now you might be asking, if it’s just a job, why is it a part of my financial aid package? After all, I could just go work at McD’s and get the same pay. Well, work-study has several advantages. First, it allows you to work without effecting next years Expected Family Contribution, or EFC. if you work anywhere else, those earnings count against you the next school year. But with work-study, you get to earn the money you need, while not affecting next years financial aid. Also, it allows you to gain experience you may not otherwise get before graduation. For example, people who want to work in the office of financial aid often need two years of experience, problem is, how do you gain that experience? Work-study is one way that let’s the school try you out at a low-cost.
To qualify, applicants must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or FAFSA like all federal programs. While need based, it does not always go to those with the lowest EFC’s. There are no specific award limits for Federal Work-Study earnings, other than the need that the amount of the Federal Work-Study award not exceed the student’s unmet need. So if a students schools costs 10000 per year, and he has a 1000 EFC and 4000 in aid, he has 5000 in unmet need. When deciding on an appropriate Federal Work-Study award for a student, they often consider the student’s academic workload and other factors that might affect the hours that a student could work each week.
So if you need to work while in school, don’t go to your local McDonald’s when you could get hired just as easily on campus. It will save you money in the long run by replacing the need for loans, but also give you the experience you will need in a tough job market.
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