Work-study is a federal program that reimburses employers for one-half of student earnings. Students qualify by filing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and demonstrating a high level of financial need. If you qualify for work-study, your financial aid award notice will list:

  • FED College Work Study

Work-study is awarded to new students based on demonstrated financial need, and to continuing students based on their use of work-study during the prior year as well as continued demonstrated financial need. Students who do not work and earn at least $1,000 of their award will not be offered the award in the following year.

What does work-study mean as a part of my aid offer?

It is just like getting any job, except that your employer is getting reimbursed for a part of your salary.

The work-study award does not pay directly to your student account. You get paid through the employee payroll process as you work and earn throughout the year. You can use your earnings to pay part of your bill, or use it for your books or other costs. This means you will not have any work-study funds available to pay bills until after you have worked and received a pay check.

How you receive the funds

Once you have a job and begin working, you will receive a paycheck every second week. Your earnings are NOT applied to your bill as a credit. If you are using your earnings to pay MSU expenses, you must make payments to the Cashier's Office.

If you earn all of your work-study before the aid period ends, you should talk to your employer about whether he or she can afford to keep you on staff and pay your full salary.

If work-study is not in your aid offer...

You can still work if you wish to do so. Work-study is intended to make it easier for students to find a job by providing an incentive to employers, but it is NOT a requirement for students who wish to seek employment on- or off-campus.

Special opportunity for work-study students

If your aid package includes work-study you may wish to apply for a paid position as a reading or math tutor in one of the elementary schools in the MSU community. The America Reads or America Counts Challenges are federally funded programs which allow college students to earn their work-study by assisting children who need help mastering the fundamentals of reading or math. Interested work-study students from all majors are encouraged to apply via email to

Info for work-study recipients with off-campus jobs

In order for your employer to be reimbursed with work-study funds, you must both complete the Off-Campus Employment Notification Form (PDF) and return it to the Office of Financial Aid. Please note that only certain non-profit employers are eligible for work-study.

For employers