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What is Work Study?

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For students looking to find funds for their higher education, federal work study should be a consideration.According the the Federal government’s Department of Education, work study “provides part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay education expenses. The program encourages community service work and work related to the recipient’s course of study.” In short, if your award letter indicates that you have “need” you are most likely eligible for work study. Although work study is a form if financial aid, it is administered like a regular form of employment. In other words, you will not be handed work study funds on disbursement day like your student loans and grants.

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You will, instead, work toward earning your work study funds in a work study job. Your funds will be given to you in the form of a paycheck. Advantages of work study include the ability to acquire more funds to go to school if your aid package is not enough. Alternately, you may be able to reduce your loan amounts by replacing all or part of your loan offer with a work study award. Some schools package (award) work study as a matter of course in their awarding process. Other institutions make work study available by request only. If you aren’t automatically awarded work study, it may not mean you are ineligible. Speak to a financial aid officer to be sure. Another benefit of work study is the likelihood of working in a job that provides you with training in your areas of study. Most work study jobs are campus or community based. In which case, you will be benefiting your school and community with your service.

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