Student loans 12 January 2023

How to Get Work-Study? Eligibility Guide and Steps to Apply

Want to pay for college? Consider work-study! Learn about eligibility, types of jobs & more with our informational guide.

Work-Study is an excellent federal program for students that need their skills refined. It is an educational program designed to help students finance their college education by working part-time. The goal of work-study is to help ease the financial burden of the high costs of studying. This program is available to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students who demonstrate financial need. The students can sign up for specific jobs that are available in this program.

This Scholaroo blog gives information on how to get work-study and everything related to it. 

How to Get Work-Study - Eligibility and Steps to Apply

Work-study is usually need-based and there are certain requirements to qualify for work-study. Following are the major eligibility requirements and steps to apply.

How to Qualify for Work-Study - Eligibility

To qualify, you need to meet certain criteria. Usually, the students must demonstrate financial need and be enrolled in an undergraduate or graduate degree program. Also, you may need to meet additional requirements depending on the institution and type of aid offered. You should review the specific qualifications for your school before applying. 

You will also need to submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine if you are eligible for work-study. Other criteria that may be used to determine eligibility include demonstrating academic progress, meeting age requirements, and being a United States citizen or eligible non-citizen. Once accepted into the program, students can apply for jobs on campus or off campus that are related to their field of study. 

Steps to Apply for Work Study

We have given the steps below to apply for Work-Study:

  1. Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to determine your financial need and eligibility for work-study. Make sure to choose  “yes” when the application asks about being considered for work-study.
  2. Review the qualifications for any available positions at your school
  3. Contact your college or university’s office of financial aid to learn more about applying and submitting all necessary paperwork
  4. Search for available positions and apply for those that are related to your field of study
  5. Once accepted into the program, you will need to keep track of your hours and earnings throughout the semester. 
  6. After completing the program, you should receive a final report detailing your total earnings for the year.

How Much Does Work-Study Pay?

The amount of money available to students through work-study is determined by the institution and the student’s financial needs. Usually, students will make at least minimum wage for work-study jobs, which is $7.25 per hour currently, but wages may vary depending on the type of job and the number of hours worked. Additionally, some schools may offer higher wages for positions that require more advanced skills or qualifications.  Students may also be eligible for additional benefits such as bonuses or paid vacation days. However, keep in mind that you can only work part-time.

Overall, work-study can be a great way for students to pay for college and gain experience in their field of study. 

List of Jobs in Work-Study

  1. Administrative and Clerical: Receptionist, Office Assistant, Data Entry Clerk 
  2. Library Services: Circulation Desk Worker, Shelving Books 
  3. Academic Tutoring: Working with students in a particular subject area 
  4. Research Assistantship: Assisting faculty members or graduate students on research projects 
  5. IT Support: Troubleshooting, Help Desk Technician 
  6. Maintenance laborer: Grounds keeping, custodial work 
  7. Food Service Worker: Working in a cafeteria, snack bar, or dining hall 
  8. Retail and Sales Associate: Working in a campus store or bookstore 
  9. Residential Life: Community life assistant or resident advisor 
  10. Special Events: Event planning and coordination, ushering, security 
  11. Administrative Support: Assisting with special projects in an office setting 
  12. Arts and Recreation Programs: Teaching classes in arts or recreation-related fields 
  13. Technical Writing and Graphic Design: Creating web content, manuals, flyers and brochures 
  14. Fundraising: Assisting in the development office with recruiting donors and alumni relations. 

It is essential to remember that not all schools offer the same types of work study jobs, so always check with your school’s financial aid office for more information.

Pros and Cons of Work-Study

Below are some pros and cons of work-study that can help you make a decision:


  • Its a useful way to help pay for college
  • You can learn new skills and experience
  • Its an opportunity to earn money and save up for more expenses
  • It is funded by the federal government and administered through schools. 


  • The types of jobs available for work-study are limited
  • The job applications are very competitive
  • Wages are quite low
  • It can be difficult to manage both studying and working

Other Things to Know About Work-Study

Now that you have an idea of how to get work-study and some pros and cons related to it, we can discuss some important things to know to help you make your decision on whether you will benefit from getting it or not.

1. Getting qualified for work-study via FAFSA does not guarantee a job

If you are offered work-study, you won’t get a job offer with it. Some schools might match their students to jobs but not all. You will need to find a work-study job to earn the funds offered to you as part of the program. The process is similar to getting any job as it will involve finding, applying, and getting interviewed. Students can contact the financial aid office to find out the list of jobs available to them.

2. Students will receive a paycheck like any other job for the hours they worked

Work-study earnings do not directly go to your school for tuition. They are given to you as your wage earned through a paycheck which can go towards covering your day-to-day expenses while you are studying.

3. Jobs may not always be on campus

The job available to you may not all be on campus. Some positions may include community service options which are off-campus jobs.

4. Pay varies according to the job you get

The pay depends on the type and nature of the job you get as they can vary in terms of the job responsibilities and skill sets required. The state’s minimum wage requirement and your school’s policies may also influence the wage you get.

5. The working hours vary according to the type of job.

The working hours vary between 10 to 20 hours per week generally. You cant work full-time as part of this particular federal program.

6. Work-study earnings are excluded from your FAFSA calculation

The earnings you get via the work-study program are not accounted for in our FAFSA calculation. The FAFSA application asks you for the amount you earned from the work-study job and factors it out.

Difference Between Work-Study and a Regular Job?

Work-study allows students to work part-time to help pay for their education costs. It is funded by the federal government and administered through schools. In contrast, a regular job is not linked to any form of financial aid and does not require the same eligibility criteria. Work-study jobs typically offer lower wages than what is available in the regular job market. Both types of jobs offer valuable experiences that can help students build their resumes and gain experience in their chosen fields. 

Work-study programs can have their pros and cons, but they can be equally beneficial for students looking to gain experience in a chosen field while paying for college expenses.

Can International Students Qualify for Work-Study?

International students are not eligible for federal work-study programs, as they are only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. However, there may be other forms of student employment that international students can pursue on campus such as Federal Work Authorization (FWA), Curricular Practical Training (CPT), and Optional Practical Training (OPT). You can check with your school’s International Student Office for more information about available job opportunities.  Additionally, some schools may offer work-study programs specifically for international students which can be a great way to gain experience in an area related to your field of study.  

What If You Don't Qualify For Work-Study?

If you don’t qualify for work-study, there are still many options available to help pay for college expenses. You can look into other student loan alternatives such as grant programs, seek employment at an off-campus job, or consider starting a small business venture. Some schools may offer grants or scholarships to students who demonstrate financial need, and volunteering your time can provide a great way to gain experience while earning college credit.  


How do I apply for a Work-Study in the U.S.A?

To apply for a work-study program in the United States, you need to contact your college’s financial aid office for detailed information. Generally, you must fill out a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form and submit it before the deadline in order to be considered for any federal or state-funded aid programs.

Can international students get work-study in the U.S.A?

Unfortunately, international students are not eligible for federal work-study programs, as they are only available to U.S. citizens or permanent residents. However, there may be other forms of student employment that international students can pursue on campus such as Federal Work Authorization (FWA), Curricular Practical Training (CPT), and Optional Practical Training (OPT).

How to get federal work study?

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) is the form used to apply for all federal, state and college-sponsored student aid. On the FAFSA, you will have the option to indicate whether you would like to be considered for work-study programs available on your campus and at other colleges or universities.

Final Thoughts

Work-study can be a great way to help pay for college while also gaining valuable experience. Take the time to research your options and eligibility requirements carefully, so you can make an informed decision that meets your financial needs. With the right planning, work-study can be a great solution for helping you afford college expenses!