Earn and learn with federal work-study

January 14, 2015

Higher education is an invaluable investment both personally and professionally, but affordability remains a significant obstacle for many prospective students.

If you are wrestling with the question “How can I afford a degree?,” rest assured there are more choices than just loans and a pile of debt. One option recently introduced at Capella University is Federal Work-Study (FWS).

What is Federal Work-Study?

FWS is a federal financial aid program that provides part-time employment to students to help meet their educational costs. Unlike loans, FWS is a type of financial aid paid to you directly based upon the hours you work—with no repayment obligation.

FWS at Capella

In 2013, Capella became the first online university to offer this financial aid option. The university employs students to work in both “on-campus” jobs and community service jobs with nonprofit organizations through the FWS program.

“On-campus” jobs at Capella are remote-based support services that FWS students provide online from their home or office. Some of the FWS roles that might be available as a Capella student include:

  • Teaching Assistant (TA). TAs provide course room support to students as it relates to course material, course expectations, and learning strategies.
  • Graduate Assisstant. Graduate assistants provide academic support through one-on-one coaching and consultation.
  • Student Services. Some FWS students provide assistance in departments such as: Multicultural Affairs, Career Center, Library, and Peer Advising.

Community service jobs for FWS students might include graduate assistant opportunities in reading (for preschool and elementary school children), mathematics (for elementary and junior high school students), or literacy (for family literacy projects).

Eligibility requirements

While FWS may be a great financial aid option for you to help cover the cost of your education, you do need to qualify to participate. Basic qualifications include:

  • Being a current, enrolled student of the institution.
  • Demonstrating financial need as determined by your FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).
  • Meeting specified academic standards determined by the institution.
  • Applying and being offered an approved Federal Work-Study Program job.
  • Meeting employment requirements as outlined in the job description.

Benefits of FWS

FWS is more than just another part-time job during school.

  • You can reduce your loan burden since your wages will offset what you may have otherwise needed to borrow.
  • You may be able to gain experience in your field while getting your degree.
  • You can help other students while working under the mentorship and guidance of professionals.
  • You can complete many Capella FWS jobs from the convenience of your home.

Perspectives from Capella FWS students

Here’s what some current Capella FWS students have to say about their work-study experiences.

“The FWS program has allowed me to gain incredible experience as a tutor for the university. This experience has opened doors to numerous opportunities while still working on my doctoral degree. I am able to share my experience with others who may have similar struggles to obstacles I have encountered in the past.”

“FWS helps me to meet some of my financial obligations. For instance, the FWS allows me to reduce the amount of money that I borrow in order to pay for my tuition. Therefore, I will owe less money towards my loan in the future. In addition, the FWS opportunity also allows me to strengthen my own skills as a learner. I am thankful to work as a Teaching Assistant for Capella University.”

“As a current adjunct instructor it was very important for me to seek additional employment that would not interfere with my current part-time jobs and that would offer an additional income (and that I could do from home).”

Learn More

Capella FWS job openings can be found on Careers at Capella. Go to "Search Current Openings" and type in the key words Work Study.

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Get started on your journey now by connecting with an enrollment counselor. See how Capella may be a good fit for you, and start the application process.