If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Working during college

College students can earn money through work-study jobs during the school year. These jobs vary from working for a professor to filming athletic games. Some jobs even let you study while working! It's important to consider job availability, pay, and your other commitments when planning for college costs.

Want to join the conversation?

  • leaf green style avatar for user Jon Dough
    Aren't you technically suppose to be working and not studying in a work-study job? Also, don't you usually have to be receiving financial aid to be able to apply for work-study jobs? It is a lot easier to go to school and get a better class schedule if you work on campus (at least for a small campus).
    (4 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • purple pi purple style avatar for user doctorfoxphd
      There are a wide variety of work-study jobs. You might be feeding animals or counting caterpillars in a lab, running a centrifuge for research blood samples, producing reagents for a lab, running psychology experiments, helping organize research materials, working at the student union as a cashier, running materials between research offices, helping tally research results, cleaning animal cages, working as library assistant, doing desk duty, cleaning athletic equipment, etc. etc. The amount you can and should study while doing the work depends on the type of job. You wouldn't be studying while working as a cashier when people are trying to pay for something, nor while cleaning guinea pig cages, but you certainly could when the desk work involves sitting and doing nothing, waiting for someone to come in and need help logging onto the catalog or something.
      (4 votes)
  • leaf green style avatar for user Hồ Ngọc Quang
    Hi everyone. So i've just got some questions: Can international students (or more general, out of state students) do work-study? How much will work-study programs expected to give (ie what's the expected salary for the student)? What happens if my salary from work-study program bigger or smaller the amount the school expected me to give? If bigger then can i have the residue? If smaller then can i give them the money later on?
    (5 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • aqualine sapling style avatar for user Julie
      Sure, I can provide some general information on these topics:

      Can international students do work-study? International students do not qualify for work-study jobs because these programs are federally funded. However, they can look for jobs that are open to non-work-study students.

      Expected salary for work-study programs: Students who qualify for work-study aid and find an eligible job are guaranteed to make at least the federal minimum wage—currently $7.25 an hour—but they can earn more than that. Average work-study awards are typically around $1,850 and are paid over the course of the school year.

      What happens if the salary from the work-study program is bigger or smaller than the amount the school expected? Work-study earnings are not applied directly to your tuition and fees. Students who are awarded work-study receive the funds in a paycheck as they earn them, based on hours worked, just like a normal job. These earnings are meant to help with the day-to-day expenses that students have and are not meant to cover large costs like tuition and housing. So, if you earn more, you can keep the extra money. If you earn less, you won’t owe the school the difference.

      Please note that this is general information and the specifics can vary depending on the school and the individual student’s circumstances. It’s always a good idea to check with the financial aid office at your school for the most accurate information.
      (1 vote)

Video transcript

- So another thing to keep in mind when you are looking at the cost of college is student jobs and how readily available are they and how much will you be paid to do a student job. - One thing that is a little bit unknown to students, a work study job is something that happens during the school year. So in your financial aid package they will put in a certain dollar amount that they want you to make but that will be made during the school year. A work study job though it can be a whole range of things and schools do different ways. It could be working for a professor. It could be filming games for the athletic department. It could be working in a dining hall. - And then there are jobs that are kind of a subsitute for a study hall. You know, there's some really rare libraries where you can basically sit by yourself, maybe one person comes in the whole day and pretty much just do your homework. So I always encourage students when they're looking at their financial aid package, when they're looking at different kind of costs analysis, how easily are you going to get a job and how much will you be paid to do it? And I guess the third thing is how active do you want that job to be considering the other commitments you're going to be having during your time at a university.