Work Study in USA- How does it work?

Studying in the United United is the dream of most students, but when they remember the cost, they tend to take a pause in pursuing that dream. Most institutions in the USA have high tuition fees, especially for international students.

For most of these international students, this is a big challenge. Many have given up their dreams and few that are courageous enough to take the journey end up securing lifetime student debts.

To help curtail this steadily growing challenge, some institutions in the state have made provisions for students to work and earn cash while studying. They brought this to fulfillment by organizing Curriculum Practical Training Programs known as Work-Study.

These Work-study programs provide students the opportunity to work once they enter school and get more experience. In this article, we will be discussing Work-study in the USA and how it works.

So, if you are interested in making extra cash while studying in the United States of America, reading this article is what you do right now.

The table of contents below gives you a rundown of all the points.

What is Work Study?

Work-Study is a federal or state level financial aid program that provides both undergraduate and graduate students who needs financial support opportunity to earn cash while studying. With the work study income, a student can sort out his tuition, living expenses and other costs.

However, work-study program won’t really cover all the cost, but when you combine it with your personal savings, scholarships, student loans and grants, it can go a long way.

Whether you are a college student, graduate, or professional student, you have a chance of getting either part-time or full-time work.

Work Study in USA- How does it work?

Choosing a work-study alternative just means that you will be considered for this type of assistance. It does not promise that you will get it as part of the grant of your financial assistance. However, once you earn this sort of grant, you will determine whether or not to consider work-study assistance.

You may hope to collect the outcome of your application for financial assistance within a few months of the request of the FAFSA.

The award will mention the sums of government grants, loans and work-study on which you are eligible based on your financial need.

Is Work Study for international students worth it?

Yes, it does.

Most students think that working while in school is the easiest form of distraction. So, the tent to give 100% attention to their studies. But the truth is that, working will cause you more good than harm. Aside from the extra cash you will make, you will gain more experience.

Also, going for concerts, restaurants and parties which would make your staying more lively has a fat budget which taking a part job can help you foot.

How does work study pay?

Work study in USA pays well. You can earn at least the current federal minimum wage or more than depending on your qualification. You can earn more if you have a higher level of skill or experience than a student that doesn’t have.

Depending on the nature of work, you can be paid on an hourly or salaried basis whether you are an undergraduate or graduate student.

In terms of cashing out, your school pays you directly unless you request that they either use your earned work-study income to apply directly towards institutional expenses like room and board, tuition and other education fees.

This means that, you can decide how to spend your work-study income.

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What is Federal Work Study Grant?

Federal Work-Study is a subsidized financial aid program organised at the federal level. This program aims at providing part-time jobs for undergraduate and graduate students to enable them handle their education expenses.

However, the program places a special emphasis on community service, whereby students are work in organizations that offer services designed to improve the quality of life for community residents in various fields.

The program encourages community service work and work related to the student’s course of study.

Generally, over 3400 institutions offers federal work-study grant. For these institutions, the got involved by first submitting a Fiscal Operations Report and Application to Participate to the U.S. Department of Education.

Are there Federal work study guidelines for employers?


Federal work study has guidelines employers must adhere to. But before I list them lets take a look at the general guidelines.

General Guidelines

All federal work study employment must give a payment rate that is appropriate based on the following specifications:

  • The type of work
  • The work place
  • Employee’s experience and skills
  • An established minimum wage rates based on geographic location.
  • Off-campus FWS jobs with public agencies or private nonprofit organizations must be in the public interest.
  • The student as an employee must gain learn experience on the job.

Work-Study positions:

  • The employment must not displace employees or impair existing service contracts.
  • It is prohibited to replace a full-time employee with student employee paid with FWS funds.
  • FWS positions must not involve constructing, operating, or maintaining any part of a building used for religious worship or sectarian instruction.

Guidelines for Employers

As an employer or participating institution, you must:

  • Pay the student wages for work, provide worker’s compensation insurance, comply with all laws
  • regarding withholding and payment of payroll taxes, and complete I-9 forms. (Note: Reimbursement
  • will be made only for actual hours worked, not for holiday, vacation, or sick pay.)
  • Pay the student at a rate comparable to that paid to employees doing comparable work.
  • Provide reasonable supervision.
  • Follow the student work hour guidelines: 20 hours or less per week when HSU is in session; up to 40
  • hours per week when HSU is not in session.

Finally, to Signing up for Federal Work-Study, employers need to complete and return the following forms:

  • Federal Work-Study Program Off-Campus Agreement
  • Position Announcement Form
  • Signature Authorization Card
  • Vendor Data Record

What is International student work permit?

USA is the hub of quality education and top educational institutions like Harvard, Stanford, MIT and many more. This attracts thousands of students resulting to an inflow of numerous applications for US student visa.

Generally, USA work permit is one of the essential things any international student who wished to work while studying in USA must get.

So, if you must work on a part-time basis a student in the country, you must have it. International student work permit allows you to work and earn money to support yourself in the country. To get it follows a process. This will lead us to the next question.

What are the Processes of Getting International Students Work Permit in US?

  • First, you need to apply for a Social Security Number through your Designated School Official.
  • You must be an F1 Visa holder (A visa that allows you to study on a full-time basis in an accredited US school). With this visa, you can work for 20 hours a week or less. You can also take up On-campus, Off-campus employment, Curricular Practical and Optional Practical Training.

Are there List of universities offering work study program in USA for international students?

There are several institutions that offers work study program in USA for international students. Here is a list of some universities:

  • University of Alaska Anchorage
  • University of Georgia
  • Lane Community College
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • University of Michigan
  • Alfred State College

Some of the Colleges that offer work study program in USA for international students include:

  • Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes
  • Berea College in Berea, Kentucky
  • Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois
  • College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri
  • Ecclesia College in Springdale, Arizona
  • Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont
  • Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina

Can international students work in the USA after graduation?

Yes, of course. Although as an international student, you are expected to leave the country 60 days after you are done with your studying, you can still get a new visa that can allow you to work in the country.

To do that, you must undergo Optional Practice Training (OPT) program. With this, you can work and gain practical experience in the country after graduation.

If you have FI Visa, you could apply for 1 year OPT program after once you complete any level of education.

On a second thought, you can go for H-1B Speciality Occupations. This will require you to get a H-1B visa.

Basically, H-1B Specialty Occupations is a non-immigrant visa that gives graduates temporary employment authorization in high-skilled occupations.

However, you must have a special skill or a bachelor’s degree. Some jobs you might get are in industries include science, engineering, and information technology. Note, with this visa, you can only work for 3 years.

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Tips on How International Students Can Get a Job After College

Generally, getting a job after graduation takes time and effort. You have to go through the processes involved in getting a work permit which is usually complex. And you might end up wasting your time and resource if the company you applied to don’t accept you.

So, have all these in mind, it will be wise you implore the following tips below if you want to have a better chance of getting work.

Starting Planning In College.

If you intend to work after graduation, it’s wise you plan while in school. Find job opportunities and apply. You can apply for an internship in some companies. With that, you will gain experience and even develop a strong relationship with the company.

Know the rules and regulations

Understand the different ways you can apply for a job. Get to know the deadlines and requirements for any job you are inspiring to get.

Have a good Resume

Be sure you have an up-to-date resume detailing all your accomplishments and experiences. When you speak to prospective bosses, be constructive, and strive to stand out by reflecting on your particular strengths.

Don’t send a standardized resume to each job you apply for-don’t waste extra time studying the organization and the task of each applicant.

Build Connections

This is another tip that can help you secure a job after graduation. Meet your alumni groups and try to build a relationship with the members.

When appropriate, talk to people about your professional interests, plans, and aspirations along with their advice and information on any known job openings.

Work with Time

In general, as a foreign student, you will have 60 days after graduation either to enroll in another college program for further study or to enroll in an OPT (Optional Practical Training) program to obtain jobs after graduation from college on an F-1 visa.

If this doesn’t happen within 60 days, you’ll have to leave the United States. The OPT program helps you to prolong your F-1 visa status for a year while you travel, learn or work in your field of study.

Finally, be Optimistic

It can be incredibly difficult to waste a lot of time trying to find a job without a result. Just sure you’re not giving up. Smiling and being confident about your skills would show faith and encourage employers to continue to invest in you.


With this full understanding of what Work Study for international students in the USA entails, you can take up the opportunity today. Not just that you will earn cash, you can be sure of boast your resume with the new experience you will gain.


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