Getting yourself through school
Work study is one way of taking responsibility for the cost of your education, by limiting the total debt you'll have at the end of your study period.
Work study programs are run on several different programs, including those run by federal and state governments and those run by colleges and universities.
Part Time or Summer Work
The most effective work study programs are created by students for themselves. They involve taking on a part-time or summer job that pays well. Or if you are able to remain employed throughout your education, you might find you can significantly fund your own tuition. As tuition rates rise and government policies change, this is a great way for students to be more resourceful.
If you have a choice of where to work, choose the employment most closely related to your field of study and to your particular area of interest. This might hurt a bit in the short run because the job might not pay as much, but in the long run the experience you gain and the connections you make will be much better for your career. The same advice holds for summer jobs.
Federal Work Study
If you're unable to find a well-paying job on your own (and a lot of people run into this problem), organized work study programs are available. Federal work study programs will be carefully structured in terms of the work you'll be assigned and the amount of money you'll be able to make. You'll find restrictions on the number of hours you can work and the type of organization you can work for.
Federal work study programs involve students performing community service work to earn money for their tuition. The best part about these programs is that they take into consideration your status as a student, and you may even be able to participate in work that is close to your interests and your course of study. However, in order to participate in them, you'll have to demonstrate financial need.
Many of these programs will pay only minimum wage and won't allow you to work as many hours as you want. (You'll be assigned a specific award amount that you won't be able to exceed.) But the real advantage of government-run work study programs is that you will have an opportunity to gather experience.
Work study assistance is usually contingent on information entered on your FAFSA.
If your SAR (Student Aid Report) letter says "federal work study" then you may apply for both state and federal work study programs in any job you're qualified for.