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workstudy vs. non-workstudy positions

By Fort Hays State University on November, 10 2022

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Everything You Need to Know About Work-Study and Non-Work-Study Positions 

 There are many different types of jobs available to college students. One of the most common is the work-study position, which the federal government funds. However, there are also many non-work-study positions available. So, which is better? 


What Is the Federal Work-Study Program? 

The Federal Work-Study Program (FWSP) is a need-based financial aid program that provides part-time employment to undergraduate and graduate students enrolled at least half-time in participating colleges or universities. 

To be eligible for the FWSP, students must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Once the FAFSA has been processed, students will be notified of their eligibility for work-study funds. If a student is awarded work-study funds, they can then begin looking for a job on their campus that fits their schedule and skill set. 


About Work-Study Positions 

Work-study is a need-based program that allows students to work and earn money to help pay for college. Your school will include work-study in your financial aid package if you are eligible. You can then apply for open work-study jobs on your campus. 


Some Things to Keep in Mind About Work-Study 

  • Work-study is a need-based program, so not everyone who applies will be awarded funds.
  • If you are awarded work-study, it does not mean you have to find a job right away. You can use your award during the academic year (or summer, if applicable).
  • Work-study positions are usually on campus, but some schools may offer off-campus positions.
  • The number of hours you can work each week will depend on your school's policy and course load.
  • Your work-study earnings are not taxed, so you can use them to cover tuition, books, and living costs.


Advantages of Work-Study Positions 

  • The money you earn is not counted as income when determining your need for financial aid for the following year.
  • Work-study earnings do not have to be repaid.
  • You may be able to find a work-study job related to your field of study, which can help you gain experience in your chosen career.
  • Work-study jobs can offer flexible hours that work around your class schedule.


Disadvantages of Work-Study Positions 

  • You may not be able to find a work-study job related to your field of study.
  • Work-study jobs are often low-paying.
  • The number of hours you can work is limited.
  • Work-study jobs are not always available and are often filled by upper-level students.


About Non-Work-Study Positions 

Non-work-study positions are not need-based and are not funded by the federal government. These jobs are often called off-campus jobs and can be found through your school's career center, online job boards, or word of mouth. 


Advantages of Non-Work Study Positions 

  • There is no limit on the number of hours you can work.
  • You can often find a job related to your field of study.
  • Upper-level students do not always fill off-campus jobs, so you may have a better chance of getting the job.
  • The pay is often higher than in work-study jobs.


Disadvantages of Non-Work Study Positions 

  • The money you earn is counted as income when determining your need for financial aid for the following year.
  • You may have to pay taxes on your earnings.
  • Off-campus jobs can be more difficult to find than work-study jobs.
  • You may have to commute off campus, taking up time and money.


Why Having a Job That Accommodates Students' Schedules Is Essential 

There are several reasons why having a job that accommodates students' schedules is essential. For one, it can help students manage their time and priorities better. Secondly, it can allow students to earn money while still focusing on their studies. Finally, having a flexible job with students' schedules can also help reduce stress levels and promote a healthy work-life balance. Ultimately, these factors can contribute to a student's overall success, both academically and professionally. 

If you are eligible for work-study, it is good to take advantage of the program. However, if you are not eligible or cannot find a work-study job, plenty of off-campus jobs can help you pay for college. Be sure to do your research and talk to your financial aid advisor to figure out what is best for you. 

Learn more about Student Employment


Fort Hays State University


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