Work-study vs Student employee

Eriko Hiranoi

What is the difference between work-study and student employees?

Kelsey Paslay, who works at the library, said “Student employee, I think it’s paid directly from the university. A work-study is paid through federal money.“

Their only difference is financial need.

Lindsay Monroe, student employment coordinator, financial aid, explained it.

“For the work-study, if you have a federal work-study award, the money is coming from the government, so they don’t have to pull from their department funds.” said Monroe.

She explains that, because the wages are typically the same, it doesn’t really matter. Most people don’t care how the position is funded. Work-study and student employees are basically the same for the student, but they have downsides.

“Some departments only hire federal work-study positions. They don’t hire regular student employees. Student employees wouldn’t able to apply for the ones that are a federal work-study only job,” said Monroe.

However, work-study benefits the departments because they can pay with the awards they earn.

She mentioned how to do work-study.

“To be eligible for work-study, a person has to fill out the FAFSA.” said Monroe. “It’s an online form and the way for a person to apply for federal aid to go to school.”

She said that the online form opens Oct. 1 on

“You usually are going to use your parents’ tax information from the previous year, so they can determine your household income and size. Based on the information, they determine whether you’re eligible for different sorts of unsubsidized loans and other awards.” said Monroe.

Edited by Jessica Galvin, Adam White, Brianna Smith

Editor’s note: A second source was added after publication.