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Work-study and other financial sadness


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Considering that I've never had to do work-study before, I'm admitting to being totally new to this. In undergrad, I worked 30 hours a week as a manager at a small health food store. It paid my bills (usually!) on top of going to school full time and I had minimal loans left over which are now paid off. I am starting my masters program next week with a clean slate. In sitting down to create a budget, I've run into a few road blocks that I should have calculated into this as I made my decision to attend this spring. With that being said..

I have an allotted $3,000/semester for work-study. That is a lot! I got hired on in the library for a really sweet job in special collections. But considering that I can't be working more than 10-15 hours and I get paid $10/hr, I will be making maybe half of what I've been allotted for. When I sat down to figure out what kind of money I'd have to pay rent with, buy groceries with, etc. I included that chunk of money. Here's the question: How the heck does work-study work? I'm assuming it's different with each school but perhaps some shared experience with this would be helpful. I know that my pay from my work-study job gets paid to me.. so am I setting up a plan to pay that to the school? If so, what about the other chunk of money that is somehow expected of me but will probably not be reached?

I was under the impression that I was taking out a bunch of loans so that I could pay my new big city rent, buy food, etc. and now I'm not sure about work-study, my scholarship and grant have not yet been released so even though my loans have been, there's a big chunk of money still owed on tuition from the money on hold so I don't know when I will be getting my refund, thus not sure when I can pay my September 1st rent. There's a lot of questions here, I know! Sorry! I've called financial aid and left 2 messages today and yesterday - I know they're busy and it may be a few days before I hear back so I thought I'd see what I could get from this fantastic forum.Thanks guys!

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With work-study, you get paid for the hours you work. The allotment is the max you're allowed to earn due to federal rules but your actual earnings depend on the hours you work and the wage at which you work those hours. Hope this helps!

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