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Work-Study vs. Other On-Campus Jobs

One way to make money as a college student is to get a work-study job. But this option is not available to everyone, which is why a regular on-campus job may have to do. Learn the differences between the two options — before you start sending out applications!

What Is Work-Study?

Work-study jobs are often confused with traditional campus jobs since both are typically performed at the school. However, the main difference is that a work-study position is a type of financial aid that is need-based, which means your income needs to be below a certain amount to qualify.

In fact, a work-study job is part of a federal program in which the government subsidizes the wages. This means if you get a work-study position, half of your wages will be paid by this program, and the employer pays the other half.

By contrast, campus jobs are regular positions that happen to be on your campus. Unless the position states it is part of the work-study program, it is likely a campus job that is open to all applicants.

Work-Study Positions vs. Campus Jobs

If you think you are eligible for work-study and are trying to decide whether to apply for this type of position or a campus job, you should learn the pros and cons of each option.

The main advantage of a work-study job is that half your wages are paid by the government. As such, it may be easier to get this type of position than a regular campus job since you will cost the employer less money.

Additionally, you are competing only with other students who are eligible for work-study, which may be another reason it is sometimes easier to get this type of job. When you apply for campus jobs, you are competing with all other students interested in the position.

On the other hand, you are not guaranteed the position you want just because you are eligible for work-study. You will have to wait for a job position to open, and then fill out the application, just like other applicants.

Also, your hours are often limited when you opt for work-study. This means you may not be able to make the income you want since you may not be given enough hours, which is not necessarily the case with a regular campus job.

Furthermore, you can expect to make close to minimum wage with most work-study jobs. Though most campus jobs do not pay particularly well, either, some do pay more than minimum wage.

Do You Have to Choose?

In general, both types of jobs have their pros and cons. Fortunately, if you qualify for work-study assistance, you can apply for both types of positions until you get a job.

In fact, it is not unusual for some college students to be employed at both a traditional campus job and a work-study position. Whatever combination of jobs allows you to make the amount you need while still keeping up your studies is recommended.

In general, if you qualify for work-study and want the best odds of finding a job, look into both work-study positions and traditional campus jobs at your college.

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