That special time of year has finally arrived at Pacific University: when leaves have started to fall and FAFSA season has descended along with them.

With financial aid on the minds of students across campus and nationwide, one elusive form has been the most frequent topic of conversation on campus — work-study. While the concept of working in exchange for financial aid money is an intriguing and often extremely helpful tool for countless students, the process and criteria necessary for obtaining and maintaining work-study in one’s financial aid package is a mysterious one. 

What goes into the decision to allocate work-study to students? According to Leslie Limper, Pacific’s Director of Financial Aid, the process is largely dependent on a student’s individual FAFSA. 

“[For a student] to be eligible for work-study for the 2019-20 academic year, students had to file the FAFSA by March 1, 2019,” Limper explained. “Each year we calculate how many students we can award work-study without overspending our allocation. Once that’s calculated, we award students work-study up to a certain Expected Family Contribution level.”

This Expected Family Contribution is determined by the FAFSA and is a supposed indication of a student’s financial need. Students are typically awarded upward of $2,500 if they’re allocated work-study funds.

However, not all students are interested in accepting work-study. A percentage of students who receive work-study in their financial aid package can choose to opt-out of utilizing it, which, according to Limper is “[taken] into consideration when we determine how much we can award for an academic year.” 

There are also options to work for students who are not eligible for work-study, including “Regular Student Employment” or “Non Work-Study,” which allows students to obtain jobs around campus without having been awarded work-study in their financial aid packages. 

This affords students the opportunity to work part-time for departments within the university and possibly even gain experience in fields they may be interested in pursuing after college. All jobs on campus, including work-study (FWS) and non-work-study (NWS), can be searched and applied for via Pacific’s “Careers at Pacific University” online directory.

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