Make Federal Work-Study Grants Work For Your Education

I’ve been fortunate enough to have consistent funding in graduate school, but this last year I learned that I would need another year on my dissertation before confirming a defense date.  Nothing bad happened, I just focused too much time on other research and not enough on my own.  (this reminds me of the financial saying comes into play here… pay yourself first.).

So as the school year ended I found myself in a tough spot – zero finding for the fall.  Fortunately, I submitted my FAFSA, as I always do even when I have funding confirmed for the following couple of years, and requested work-study.  Fortunately, the Financial Aid office approved my work-study and all I had to do was find a job.

Finding a work-study job that is useful for a graduate student is essential.  I was searching for a job that aligns with both short-term goals (paying the rent) and long term goals (publishing something useful and getting a job) is a difficult task for any graduate student.  I applied for a few jobs that were only “ok” and held (aka. networked my ass off) out until something else came up… which it did.

Next year I will be leading an institutional research project that will be looking at student education (I’m keeping the topic purposefully vague).  The project looks great because I will complete it at my own (furious) pace, though cautiously using inly 10 hours of my time per week.  The other 40 hours I’ll be able to devote to my dissertation and keeping healthy.

With this work study job I should be able to live humbly and compete my dissertation by May.  Cheers to that!