Find out how you can "earn while you learn" with Work-Study

Your new career can start with a work-study opportunity at the college. Often times this serves as a paid internship.

Looking for ways to help pay for your college? Then you need to look at Federal Work-Study as an avenue to help defray the cost of getting a higher education. What is work-study?

According to the US Department of Education, Federal Work-Study provide part-time jobs for students with financial needs that allows them to earn money while in school to help pay for their education expenses. The program encourages community service work and gives students an opportunity to gain valuable work experience while pursuing a college degree. Many of the jobs are located on the college campus. Here are some caveats and the steps to get to work-study opportunity at Coastline:

What is the Process? FAFSA?

Step one towards work-study is to complete the FAFSA form. All students are encouraged to fill out the Free Application For Student Aid form. On the application there is a question which asks if the student has any interest in Federal Work-Study (FWS). If you are interested and answer yes, then it will be included in the financial aid award if you qualify. However, you must do the work to find the position at the college and your job of interest. Reach out to the Financial Aid office to inform them of your interest in FWS. They will send you a list of departments in the college that are looking to hire. You will need to prepare a resume, which can easily be done by using Coastline's Career Coach tool. This tool will allows students to create resumes and apply for jobs in and out of Coastline. It guides you with and provides resume templates. Once your resume is prepared, you can then schedule an interview with the hiring manager at the college.

What Job Skills are Needed?

The competencies needed for the job requires you to have the skills required to perform the job assignment. Depending on the Student Assistant level and specific job assignment, jobs require limited to independent judgment, and decision making. You will also need to demonstrate the ability to balance work and studies. Work-study students may not exceed 19.5 working hours per week during the fall and spring semesters and may work a maximum of 28 hours per week outside of the fall and spring semesters.

At the Coastline College District, there are federal work-study jobs offered as well. The pay for 2019-2020 runs anywhere from $13.00-16.75 hourly. There are three tiers of experience and the pay varies according to your responsibilities.

• Student Assistant I: Entry level

Work is under immediate supervision (methods of performing tasks are well established and explained in specific terms). The supervisor has responsibility for the assignment of work, the flow of work, production level, and provision of proper instructions.

• Student Assistant II: Intermediate/advanced:

Work is under general supervision (objectives are set but methods of performing tasks are left up to the employee) with specialized training done on-the-job. The supervisor has responsibility for the assignment of work, however, there is less control exercised over the flow of work.

• Student Assistant III: Prior experience, education, or specialized skills required

Work is under general supervision (work objectives are set but methods of performing tasks are left up to the employee). Jobs require the application of considerable independent judgment and decision making. Students at this level may have the responsibility to direct the work of lower-level student employees.

How Do I Get Paid?

As an undergraduate student, you are paid by the hour. The college will pay you at least once a month. Your school must pay you directly unless you request that the school can either send your payments directly to your bank account or use the money to pay for your education-related institutional charges such as tuition, fees, and room and board. The income you earn from work-study jobs is considered taxable.

What are the Benefits?

There are many benefits to work-study. Like scholarships and grants (but unlike loans), work-study is a type of financial aid that does not have to be paid back. Here are a few benefits:

The income from FWS does not count toward your FAFSA. Unlike income earned from part-time jobs, you do not report your work-study earnings on your FAFSA. Any income reported on your FAFSA over $6,420 increases your EFC score, meaning you will receive less financial aid.

Income from work-study jobs is taxable. However, you will avoid the 7.3% FICA taxes which are normally removed for Social Security and Medicare coverage.

Networking. You get access to people in the industry or major you are studying and the opportunity to meet new connections may be more valuable than the paycheck.

Work Experience. You will obtain experience! Yes, this is highly valuable when it comes to building your career. This will help you build a resume that will make you eligible for a higher paying position with the experience you acquire. Coastline tries to help students find jobs that align with their career goals and the goals of the hiring manager.

The work-study program makes jobs accessible to students. The jobs have to be are located on and around campus. The hiring managers will schedule the work around your course load, but expect set hours. This is a real job and should be perceived as a real job. Which means they can hire you and fire you if you don't show up, or are repeatedly late.

You control where your money goes. While paying for college should be your top priority your earning belongs to you and ultimately supports you while you complete your education.

Is Federal Work-Study for you?

The downside of Federal Work-Study is that you are limited in what you can earn and the number of hours you can work. Work-study will also, most likely, not provide you enough money to pay for all your living expenses. But if you are getting Financial Aid, then it could be useful addition to covering your expenses while you are in college.


The benefits to work-study can by far, outweigh the negatives, while adding extra money to your wallet along with work experience that will prove relevant to your field of study. In fact, this blog was written by a student who is earning money as a work-study student in the marketing department! Yes. I am a communications major!

Because your job is associated with your studies, your supervisor is more likely to accommodate and be flexible with you when you need time off for classes or finals. If that student debt weighs heavily on your mind, and if you are interested in reducing your student loan burden after graduation this may work out very well for you. If you want to receive some on-the-job training in your field of study while getting your degree, then make sure you check "yes" on the Federal Work-Study box on your FAFSA.

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