Work From School

by Isaac Word

photography courtesy of Pexels

We all recall that elated feeling of opening our BU acceptance letters online in the Applicant Link and the blind joy that followed. Family members crowded around and cheered, friends waited expectedly on the other end of their cell phones and you felt a sense of reassurance that you hadn’t felt in a long time. That was the feeling for many of the admitted students, at least.

On the other hand, many other prospective students cut the celebration short before looking at their financial aid documents. After all, this typically plays a big determining factor for a large portion of the admitted class. Some will see at least a few scholarship or federal rewards, and among these might be Federal Work-Study.

In recent years, many of these select students have been wondering what exactly Federal Work-Study is and why it has been accounted for in their grand total financial aid award for the year. This leads a lot of students to not act on the privilege that they have been granted.

Essentially, Federal Work-Study is a program that provides part-times jobs for undergraduate and graduate students with financial need, allowing them to earn money to help pay for education expenses, according to Federal Student Aid, an Office of the U.S. Department of Education. While this might seem self-explanatory, the program comes with a few unique requirements and options.

Foremost, the program “emphasizes employment in civic education and work related to your course of study whenever possible.” In other words, the program encourages students to pursue their specific studies early-on, which can give them an advantage when looking for internships or even future jobs. This beneficial aspect sometimes causes students who did not receive the award to be envious of those who did.

“My friends have jobs through work-study that align better with their interests concerning their major, which I found was hard to acquire without the opportunity of work study,” said Isabel Turner (CAS ’22).

One supposed drawback of the program is that it does not guarantee a student will have the opportunity to receive more earnings than the award amount listed on their financial aid document. While this might seem like it would not allow a very long duration for the job, the program is designed so students can work very few hours during the school week that are specifically tailored around their academic schedule. This eliminates the stress of balancing the two that comes with typical, off-campus jobs.

There are also other perks that can come with particular jobs. Conor Kelly (COM ’22), who works in the World Languages and Literatures Department of CAS, has the opportunity to experience cultures and cuisines from all over the world.

“It’s really cool to have a glimpse into the work of professors and translators who come from many different and diverse cultural backgrounds,” Kelly said. “Also, there’s often authentic cuisine that’s brought in by the faculty, so I’m very lucky that I get to try some really delicious recipes from around the world.”

BU has many interesting and unique work-study options that can be found in the “Work” section on the Student Link. These jobs can differ from all ends of the academic and operations spectrum.

Lexi Matthews (COM ’22) works in the Residence Life Office in Warren Towers.

“My job is mostly to answer phones and do clerical work, but a big part of it is helping people when they lose their room keys or accidentally locked themselves out of their room,” Matthews said. “In the four months that I’ve been working there, at least eight people have needed me to register a new key for them because they flushed theirs down the toilet.”

This goes to show how every job has its positive sides. If you received the award and chose to defer it in October, now is the time to find the perfect job through this program.