If you’ve been a parent for a while (and if you’re the parent of a college student, that’s probably the case), any financial help that goes toward that college bill is more than welcome. As of April 8, 2021, the federal minimum wage is $7.25. And all your children need to do to take advantage of this $$ is to show up to work.
What that means with respect to work-study jobs is that your kids will be working smarter (getting paid more for the same work) and not harder this upcoming semester. Granted, an extra $0.70 an hour won’t make your children rich, but it does add up to a nice chunk of change over the course of the school year.
And speaking of working smarter and not harder, many campuses have higher paying work-study jobs for those with the skills to match. So wouldn’t it make sense to encourage your children to prepare early to get the best job for the highest pay possible? There are a few things you can do to help make this happen, but first some facts:
Things every parent should know about work-study:
- Federal work-study is a program that allows students to earn money to pay for educational expenses and gain key work experience at the same time.
- Most importantly, students must have applied for work-study by completing their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and marking “yes” when asked if they were interested in student employment.
- Qualifying students who have been offered a work-study award must have OFFICIALLY accepted it for the current school year.
- Just because your child has a work-study award for a certain dollar amount doesn’t mean that your child is necessarily guaranteed that amount, or even a work-study position. Rather, a work-study award authorizes your child to participate in the program and caps the amount of funds that may be earned during the school year.
- Though requirements vary, undergraduate students must at least be taking a minimum number of credit hours and maintain satisfactory progress toward their degree.
- The competition for many work-study jobs is fierce. Some may require an interview and specific qualifications, so it’s best for your child to be prepared.
What to do?
Make subtle suggestions. We’re talking about taking action, as soon as possible. Or at least encouraging your children to do the same. Why wait for the work-study jobs to get posted in late summer and early fall? Encourage your kids to prepare their résumé and cover letter ahead of time, so that when those job postings do start going up around campus, your children are ready to outshine the competition with polished, professional credentials that make them stand out above the rest.
Encourage originality. You’re not average and neither are your kids. So why would you want them going after the same jobs as everyone else? Instead, have them figure out what interests them or pinpoint something they’ve always wanted to try, and then help them get in contact with the campus department or office that hires students to do that particular thing. And who knows? Even if your kids’ dream job doesn’t exist, if they’re prepared and ready to sell their skill sets and personality, an employer may just be impressed enough to create a new work-study position where there wasn’t one before.
Advocate homework. Sure, some college students will do the minimum just to get the same work-study job that everyone else gets. But to land that great job that doesn’t just help pay the bills but will be the job they’ll love, perhaps thrive in and maybe even base their career on, your children need to go the extra mile. Instead of condoning just showing up for the interview, encourage your children to learn everything they can about the employer, the department and those who work there and what they accomplish daily. Then when they walk into that interview, your kids will be ready. They’ll be able to discuss how they’ll fit in, how their skills will help accomplish the department’s mission, and they’ll be able to sell themselves as the solution.
Get what you need. While it’s possible that you’ve got all your bases covered when it comes to financing your children’s education, especially now that you’ve coached your children to success with their new work-study jobs, take some time to go back and consider: Besides work-study, have you and your children taken advantage of all the federal financing that’s available to you? Are you eligible for Pell grants, Perkins, PLUS or Stafford loans? Do you still need money to cover any remaining school expenses? If you do, Student Loan Daddy may be able to help. Student Loan Daddy offers an answer for your needs in the form of a private loan, which is an unsecured, credit-based loan that has generous borrowing limits, quick preapproval, and no application deadlines. Find out more at: Student Loan Daddy.