Are you looking for a way to make a little more money during the semester while getting more involved in your campus? If so, you should consider a work-study position at Front Range Community College.
According to Elizabeth Romba, the FRCC Coordinator of Work-Study Programs, “Work study provides the opportunity to earn a portion of your financial aid by working part-time, either on-campus or with participating community-based partners off-campus. The Front Range Community College work study program is funded by money from both the federal and state governments. Eligibility to utilize this program is determined by first completing the Free Application of Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and availability of funds.”
Students must complete the FAFSA to ensure eligibility for work-study positions. Work-study is a form of financial aid and is therefore allocated based on a student’s financial need.
On the FAFSA application, you can denote that you are interested in work-study and you will be awarded an aid package based on your financial need. If you accept the offer, then the money is allocated depending on the hours that you work.
“This year, students were given the opportunity to earn up to $7500 in work-study funds. For some of those students, it meant they didn’t have to borrow student loans to help cover costs, which means they’re not paying back that money upon graduation,” Romba said.
The biggest advantage of work-study financial aid is not needing to pay it back after graduation, which could greatly reduce a student-debt load.
There are some requirements that potential employees need to meet and maintain to get or keep a position.
According to Romba, “Since work study is a form of financial aid, students need to make sure they’re meeting basic financial aid eligibility requirements first, and must submit all documents needed to financial aid before we can consider them for any financial aid, including work study.”
This also means that students should complete the FAFSA as soon as possible, as funds are dispersed on a first-come, first-served basis.
“Some students who are interested in work study may not see work study as part of their original financial aid award, and that’s okay. If they’re interested in working on campus but haven’t been awarded, they can touch base with a financial aid advisor to discuss the work study waitlist, and see if that’s an option for their circumstance,” Romba said.
To be eligible for financial aid, students must meet specific requirements. “Students must: maintain at least a 2.0 cumulative grade point average, successfully complete at least 67% of all credits attempted – including transfer credits – and complete your degree or certificate within 150% of the total degree length,” Romba said. “Additionally, students working under work study must be enrolled and attending six or more credits throughout the term in which they are working.”
Additionally, students are not allowed to work more than 20 hours in any given week, or 28 hours over spring and winter break. The school and government want students to prioritize school over work.
“Your supervisors are happy to build your work schedule around your classes and academic priorities. Often, you can work before, in-between, and after your classes to maximize your schedule,” Romba said.
As a work-study student, I have had the opportunity to interact with FRCC staff members with whom I would not interact otherwise. I have learned more about our campus and the opportunities it affords because of working, as well as studying, at the college. As a result of my work-related interactions, I have even altered my path of study.
Finally, work-study jobs allow students to keep a larger portion of their earnings than traditional jobs do. “Work study is subject to the same income tax regulations as any other job, though most students don’t see this withholding in their checks for a while, because their total income for that position has not hit a threshold that’s taxable,” Romba said.
Also, while your earnings are still subject to federal and state taxes, the money that you make doesn’t factor into your financial situation when determining future financial aid awards.
I have enjoyed my experience as a work-study student and definitely plan to continue being a work-study student as I continue my studies. There are many alternative options to help pay for school and work-study is one of the best out there.
In Romba’s words, “Students working on campus have a unique opportunity to build a stronger connection to the college, which has been proven to help these students be successful in their academic endeavors.”
Students interested in learning more about work-study positions can visit: https://www.frontrange.edu/paying-for-college/student-employment
Written by Alex Liethen
Photo by Alex Liethen