What is a College Work Study Program (CWSP)?

The College Work Study Program (CWSP) is a type of financial aid that a school awards to a student who has completed a FAFSA and has demonstrated a financial need. The student is given a job (usually on-campus) and is paid by the school not to exceed a determined amount.

How Does a College Work Study Program (CWSP) Work?

The College Work Study Program (CWSP) is now called the Federal Work Study Program (FWSP).

Upon a student's completion of the FAFSA for the upcoming school year, the school will determine the student's level of financial need and decides how much (if any) financial aid will be awarded.

Along with grants and loans, the school's financial aid office may offer the student a chance to be part of the school's CWSP. If the student joins the program, the student will work for the college and be paid above minimum wage up to a determined total amount per semester.

The school's financial aid office (from which the student is compensated) will determine the wage the student may earn based on their level of financial need, previous work experience and the amount money that is available in the school's financial aid budget. Because there is a limit on funds that the financial aid office may award the CWSP student, the student may not exceed his or her work hours in a given semester.

Students under the CWSP may be assigned to work off campus, but will mostly work on campus. Off-campus, a student may work for a non-profit agency or public organization that works with the school. On-campus, a student may work at the school bookstore, cafeteria, residence hall or admissions office.

Why Does a College Work Study Program (CWSP) Matter?

Combined with scholarships, grants and loans, a college's CWSP can offer a student significant aid when it comes to paying tuition and other college expenses. Unlike a normal job, funds that are paid to the student under the CWS program does not count against the amount of financial aid that a student may receive for future semesters.

[Related articles: 5 Simple Ways to Save on the Rising Costs of Higher Education, 7 Simple Ways to Pay Off Any Size Student Loan]

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