If President Obama‘s plan to raise minimum wage goes through, plenty of people will benefit. One group in particular may see a direct benefit, but they probably aren’t the first group of people thought of during minimum wage discussions.
College students who are part of the Federal Work-Study Program, which helps them pay for their education, would be directly impacted by an increase in minimum wage. The program itself could also see some changes as award packages would have to be altered to allow for what essentially amounts to multiple students receiving raises at once.
Students participating in a Work-Study program are required to be paid at least federal minimum wage. Currently, that means making at least $7.25 per hour. If the raise in minimum wage goes through, their pay would increase to at least $10.10 an hour. Some Work-Study participants already make more than that depending on their individual circumstances.
The rise in tuition prices may be slowing, but it still exists. An increase in how much Work-Study students have to be paid could be extremely beneficial to those students, and help make college more affordable to them.
Work-Study positions aren’t available for everyone. To be eligible, you must mark “yes” on the question about Work-Study programs on your FAFSA form indicating your interest. Need also factors in to eligibility, and scholarships and grants you are receiving are awarded before Work-Study.
Though students with Work-Study jobs must be paid federal minimum wage or better, the actual amount you are paid depends on several factors including skills required for the position, when you apply, your level of financial need and the funding level of your school.
Undergraduate, graduate and professional level students are all eligible for Work-Study as long as they meet the program requirements. Undergraduate students are paid by the hour, while graduate and professional students are either paid hourly or salaried, depending on work done.
An increase to minimum wage is good news for students who are worried about the financial burden of attending college. To see if your school is participating in the Federal Work-Study Program, check with the financial aid office.