Paying for College: Work-Study

“You can’t go there. It’s too expensive. Looks like you’re going to community college.”

Work-studies will take into account your schedule for school. (photo by jurvetson)

The words ring in my ears like it was yesterday. In fact, it was. It is not that community colleges are poor choices; they are actually great choices, however, when presented with your dream school versus a community college, of course one is going to feel heartbroken. Therefore, it is necessary that I weigh all my options to go to the college of my dreams. One of the options you may consider is the option of participating in a work-study. Please take note that there are other methods of paying for college, as depicted in this previous post.

Work-studies are a great way to help pay for college. Often, work-studies take place at your school, where they will pay for parts of your education in exchange for your work in the occupation they assign you. However, they don’t necessarily have to be in the standard location, esp. libraries, tours, etc… They may be off campus, depending on who is paying for your education.

Work-studies are given by need and merit. To be eligible for a work-study, you must fill out a FAFSA form. From there, they will alert you if you are able to participate. Your financial situation and your dependence/independence on parents can stifle or help you in being accepted for the opportunity.

Work-studies are not recognized by the government as income, as told by collegedata.com, therefore, ┬áit does not hinder your eligibility for financial aid. Your salary, though not recognized as income, still has to follow the minimum wage requirements set by law. Isn’t that great news?

Although they are great options, if available, you must be able to qualify for work-study participation as well as checking with your school to ensure that they even allow for work-study jobs. Again, they are not freely given.

As with any school-related financial situation, there are limitations on your work-study. You are only able to work the minimum hours set by your Federal Work-Study award. These hours usually vary from ten to fifteen per week. They will also consider your class schedule and academic progress in setting your work hours up! It is important to ensure you are balancing work and school to ensure that you are reaping the benefits available.

As you can see from the descriptions above, work-studies can be great tools to help one pay for their education. These days, everyone is looking to take as much money as they can. College is, for most, just too much of a financial burden on families. Take advantage of everything that you can to ensure that you are not piling debt on debt to pay for your education.

I must warn, however, do not stop here! Always, always, always be looking to grow yourself financially so that you can acquire an education, reap the benefits, and come out of college with a minimum amount of debt!

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