Work-Study Grant, Part III – The Inside Secret

So, you’ve been awarded a work-study grant, but can’t find a job on campus.  Before you throw it away, here’s a little inside secret.  What many don’t know is that the work-study program is not exclusively for the college, but for the community as a whole.  What this means is that you can take your work-study grant off-campus to area organizations that have agreements with the college.

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Here’s how I used my grant.  I attended Michigan State University (go Spartans!), and worked for campus safety, parking cars for football games.  I also worked for the grounds department, the campus health department and for a professor – all from my work-study grant during my four years.  Yet, campus jobs are competitive as mentioned in a previous blog and I wanted to put something more on my resume than simply “parking lot attendant.”  Since my major was in Parks and Recreation, I contacted the local city park and recreation department and asked if they had a work-study agreement with MSU; which they did.  This opened the door for me to work there and later at a nature center.

The little known secret is that the ratio of 50/50 on wages changes for jobs off-campus to 30/70; meaning the employer pays 30% and your grant kicks-in 70%.  Applied to the previous example of $8.00/hour, means your off-campus employer only pays $2.40/hour.  This gives you a big advantage over others and potential bargaining power.  With my first off-campus job, I literally told them what I wanted to be paid and they agreed to it!

So, do a little exploring around your campus community.  Are there non-profits, community centers, museums or government agencies willing to hire work-study students near your college?  It takes a little investigative work, but the difference might be a job on campus parking cars vs. a job off-campus that you both enjoy and can use on your resume.

For more tips, information and the ins-and-outs of financial aid, visit the free website: www.MaxFinAid.org

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