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 part of my aid package?

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

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, which means you will not have any work-study funds available to you until after you have received a pay check. You may then use your earnings to pay for part of your MSU bill or for other school-related expenses.

How will I receive my award?

Once you have a job and begin working, you will receive a pay check every second week. Your earnings are not automatically applied to your bill as a credit. To use your earnings to pay for MSU expenses, you must make payments to the Cashier's Office.

Who pays for me to work?

Federal work-study pays 50% of your gross earnings until you have exhausted your full work-study award. Any earnings that exceed your work-study award are charged 100% to your hiring department.

As an example, let's say you have a $2,000 "FED College Work Study" award in your financial aid package, you've found a job, and you've started to work. Use the table below to see where your earnings would come from:

Amount Paid
by Federal Govt.
Amount Paid
by Your Employer
$2,000 $500  $250$250
$2,000 $1,000  $500$500
$2,000 $2,000 *$1,000$1,000
$2,000 $3,000  $1,000$2,000

* At this point, your work-study award has been used completely and any future earnings during this aid period must come entirely from your employer (i.e., no more 50/50 split with the Federal Government).

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

You can still work! 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.

Interested in a paid tutoring position?

If your financial aid package includes a work-study award, you are able to apply for a paid tutoring position with the MSU Center for Community Engaged Learning through the America Reads/Counts Program. For more information, please visit Work-Study Tutoring Opportunities for details.

Interested in working off-campus?

In order for your employer to be reimbursed with work-study funds, both you and your employer must fill out 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 reimbursement.

For employers