Work Programs (work study or campus employment Programs)

"Work Programs (work study or campus employment Programs)" submitted by SchoolGrantsfor Editorial Team and last updated on Thursday 4th August 2011

Most schools offer work as part of the financial aid package. This offer is NOT an obligation, but an opportunity. Sure, if you're a freshman you might end up having to work in the dining halls slinging grease, but, hey, it's only a couple hours a week. If you are a continuing or currently enrolled student, it will soon be time to start hunting or making sure you have a job secured for the upcoming semester. Typically, April is the month to find a job.

Take advantage of this opportunity. Some campus jobs are trivial (office assistant) and some are not (student manager). You'd be amazed at the range of jobs available on campus.

You also might be surprised to find out just how much a campus job can help. I worked 20 hours a week as an undergraduate and managed to actually reduce the amount of Stafford loan I had to borrow. I estimate I saved nearly $7,000 in loan indebtedness by working.

I'll bet you also might be surprised to find out that statistics show that students who work (or generally participate in activities on campus) tend to get BETTER grades than those who do not. Part of your college education includes extracurricular activities. Working is just one of the many ways you can broaden your college experience. Get involved!

If your financial aid award contains an offer of Federal Work Study, you can also pursue a community service position OFF campus. Community service looks great on a resume, I might add. Ask your financial aid office or student employment office about opportunities in the community.

A word about an offer to work. Many families assume that work study or campus employment is deductible from the student bill. This is not the case. It is money that is set aside to pay the student's wages as he/she works on campus. If you're receiving an award letter for the first time (you're an incoming student for example), look carefully at your awards and the cost of attendance outlined in your award letter. Charges you'll actually incur from the college include: tuition, fees, and room and board. Items that aren't charged directly to you, but expenses that you'll have nonetheless include: books, personal expenses, loan fees and transportation. If you are unsure about what your actual charges are/may be, phone the college's bursar (billing) office and ask.

When you are trying to figure out how much it will cost to attend, add the costs that you will actually be charged (tuition, fees, room/board) and subtract financial aid (grants, loans) to get an estimate of your out of pocket costs. As I said, don't include work.

Finally, if your financial aid package does not include work, be sure to ask the financial aid or student employment office if there is any way work can be added to your package. Many schools are able to offer campus employment to students who do not qualify for need based assistance. Campus based federal aid programs administered by colleges are Federal Perkins Loan, Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant and Federal Work-Study.