Paying for college isn’t easy, and financial aid doesn’t always cover everything. So, many students get summer jobs to help offset the cost or provide a little “fun money” for nights out with friends.
Part-time jobs generally pay more hourly than work-study positions, which is very enticing for many students. But, you have to be careful; if you make too much money, it could affect your financial aid.
How can a summer job affect financial aid?
Student wages can affect financial aid by raising your or your family’s Expected Family Contribution (EFC). Generally speaking, the higher your EFC, the lower your aid offer will be from your college.
Although this sounds very unfair, you are still able to work without affecting your EFC as long as you don’t make over a certain amount.
This amount differs for dependent and independent students.
Dependent students, meaning you used your parents’ information when filing FAFSA®, can make up to $6,600 a year before their financial aid is affected. I know that doesn’t sound like a lot, so let me break it down for you.
The average minimum wage in the United States is $8.49 an hour, and the average college student works 10 hours per week. If you took no time off for school breaks or finals and worked all 52 weeks in a year, you’d still be $2,186 away from the limit!
Independent students, meaning you used your information when filing FAFSA®, can make $10,360 if you’re single, and $16,620 if you’re married!
For independent students, it’s a little harder to stay within these limits because, most live on their own, and sometimes have families of their own. But, it’s nice to know FAFSA® has your back, at least for part of your income.
Or… Maybe you can work tax-free!
Not all students fit neatly into the “boxes” described above.
If you need more money to help cover school expenses, it might be a good idea to look into a work-study program.
Any money made as a part of these programs, will not be considered taxable income. It will actually be considered financial aid!
Pro tip: Getting a job at your campus bookstore can not only be a great place to work, but you’ll also get a great discount on books and school swag!
Did you know?
Financial aid is first come first served, and the sooner you file FAFSA®, the better your chances of maximizing your aid!!
FAFSA® opens up for the 2020-2021 school year on October 1st – so don’t miss out!
So Don’t You Worry!
Whether it’s part-time at the ice cream shop around the corner or a work-study position at your campus library, you now have the tools you need to make the best decision for you.
Now get out there and “apply” yourself!