Colleges With the Coolest Work-Study Programs

Student jobs are hardly run-of-the-mill at these colleges and universities.

Work-study programs offer students a great opportunity to get steady part-time work to help fund their education. Many students rely on these programs to help them afford their tuition costs and other expenses, like rent, groceries and textbooks. If you plan to apply for a work-study job, you may be nervous about getting stuck in a boring or tedious position. Fortunately, there are a number of schools with interesting and challenging work-study jobs for students. Check out these colleges and universities with the coolest work-study programs to see what kinds of positions they have available.

Do your research and talk to the Student Employment department at your college to find a work-study job that’s a good fit for your interests and goals.

Lane Community College: Cooperative education provides real-world experience.

At Lane Community College in Eugene, Oregon, students can get more than just some extra pocket change out of their work-study job. This college encourages students to participate in cooperative education learning experiences that provide real-world experience at a local business or organization along with academic credit. Not all of Lane’s co-op experiences qualify as work-study jobs; however, students can seek out a work-study position that requires skills relevant to their academic or career goals in order to meet the qualifications for a co-op experience.

University of Pennsylvania: A researcher’s paradise

The University of Pennsylvania is known for its extensive research opportunities. However, current and prospective students should know that those research projects can actually turn into paid work. Penn includes dozens of research positions in its work-study job listings. Talk about killing two birds with one stone – score a research or lab position in your chosen field and you’ll gain excellent experience that could advance your future career, along with a steady job that will help you pay the bills in the meantime. Students searching for work-study research positions will find that the university offers this type of work in numerous academic departments including bioengineering, public policy, business and English.

University of Michigan: Offbeat jobs to suit unique students

Along with top-notch academic programs, the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor is also known for its culturally rich environment and diverse student population. With so many students with different interests and backgrounds, the university has no trouble finding people to fill its many unique work-study opportunities. According to The Michigan Daily, students at U of M can find positions as a nude model for the School of Art, a bread baker in the Michigan League or a museum docent at the University’s Exhibit Museum of Natural History.

In addition to these offbeat jobs, work-study students can sign up to be paid participants for research trials in the Department of Psychology and Medical School. These jobs can last for a few days or even just for an hour or two, giving students an easy way to earn extra cash in their free time.

Alfred State College: Opportunities for students who aren’t work-study eligible

Selected as one of the top work-study programs in the country by PARADE, Alfred State College (also known as SUNY College of Technology at Alfred) offers two work-study programs. In addition to a traditional, government-funded work-study program, ASC also offers a unique work-grant program through the Educational Foundation of Alfred, Inc. This program is open to a select number of students who aren’t work-study eligible but who could still benefit from an on-campus position. To date, the foundation has invested over $162,000 in the work-grant program.

Work Colleges: Pay your way through school with ongoing employment.

If you’re worried that a work-study position won’t even scratch the surface when it comes to your financial obligations, consider applying to a work college. These institutions incorporate student jobs into the educational process to provide students with valuable work experience that helps them pay their way through school. The tuition and living expenses are significantly lower at these colleges where all students are required to work. Currently, there are seven schools in the Work Colleges Consortium, three of which are tuition-free:

  • Alice Lloyd College in Pippa Passes, Kentucky (tuition-free based on county of residency)
  • Berea College in Berea, Kentucky (tuition-free)
  • Blackburn College in Carlinville, Illinois
  • College of the Ozarks in Point Lookout, Missouri (tuition-free)
  • Ecclesia College in Springdale, Arizona
  • Sterling College in Craftsbury Common, Vermont
  • Warren Wilson College in Swannanoa, North Carolina

Getting approved for a work-study job doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll be scraping dishes in the dining hall or sorting books in the library. Though the schools in this list offer some unique options, many other colleges and universities have a diverse set of work-study opportunities available to their students. Do your research and talk to the Student Employment department at your college to find a work-study job that’s a good fit for your interests and goals.

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