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Working Woman: a Guide to Work Studies

Every college student knows the struggle of putting their bank account in pain. Even though we all hate saying no to lunch off-campus with our friends, sometimes we just have to. Maybe because we accidentally blew our entire refund check, whoops… According to the US Department of Education, nearly 19 million students fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) every year. In addition to these 19 million students, nearly 700,000 students participate or qualify for the Federal Work-Study Program. Chances are, you’re one of those students. So here’s a short guide to work studies.


1) Finding out if you qualify:

If you filled out the FAFSA and clicked the box stating “I would like to participate in work-study opportunities” then chances are, you were given the go-ahead, and that funds are available to you if you find a job. To be University of South Carolina specific, visit my.sc.edu and sign in to your Self-Service Carolina account. Then you can visit your financial aid tab, go to award, then award for aid year. Here, you can see all listed awards, scholarships, and financial grants and loans. If your award list says “Federal Work-Study” then you have a work-study fund!

2) Finding a job:

Just like finding any other type of job, it takes patience. For the 2020-2021 school year, UofSC has a website for students to find possible work-study positions. A good place to start is at the financial aid website where you can search for work-study jobs by category and by department. In the upcoming school year, 2021-22, this website is meant to change to make it more user-friendly.

3) When to apply:

According to Cindy Peachey, the senior associate director at UofSC’s financial aid office, she recommends applying and searching for work studies as soon as the end of July. Positions tend to fill quickly and there are only so many openings available.

4) What are the benefits?

As with everything, there are pros and cons. With work studies, the list is a tad short but there are downfalls to holding a work-study as much as there are to not holding one. One con to having a work-study is the lack of free time. Most often work-study students have longer hours that fit within their class schedule, but the benefit of having less free time and possibly a boring job, you have study time. When asked what the benefits of a work-study are, Cindy Peachey responded first and foremost “Work-study employees tend to have a better GPA because work studies are made to benefit the student. A restaurant in Five Points might pay better, but they won’t be as understanding when a student has an exam the next day”.


Work-studies hold several positives and negatives but every job does. With a work-study, you’re most likely to stay on campus while having a much more understanding boss who knows when you have an exam and you have to crack down on studying. Nothing is perfect but a few extra dollars in your pocket for merely studying a doing work, it sounds close to perfect for a college student.

Emily Okon

South Carolina '24

Emily is a second-year student studying journalism and the music industry studies at the University of South Carolina! You can usually find her behind a camera or with her nose in a fictional universe. Thursday nights are radio show nights! TuneIn to 90.5 WUSC & HD1 Columbia to listen to your favorite writer be a chaotic mess on a live radio show!
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