Work Study vs Off Campus Jobs: Pros and Cons

As a college student, it may be difficult to decide between a work study position or an off-campus job. Both types of jobs can provide you with a number of benefits. Here are the pros and cons associated with work-study and off campus jobs.

Work Study Pros

  • Location--Working in a work study program will allow you to stay right on campus.  If you live on campus, this can be very convenient as your work and classes are all in the same place. This will allow you to cut down on travel time and how much money you spend in gas.
  • Tuition assistance--Many work study jobs will provide you with some sort of tuition assistance in return for your services. Therefore, this can help you cut down on the amount of money that you have to borrow with student loans. If you receive scholarships, you may be able to use some of the money on other things with the help of work-study tuition assistance.
  • Room and board--Some work study jobs will provide you with free room and board in return for your service. For example, if you are a resident assistant, the cost of your dorm room will likely be covered.

Work Study Cons

  • Wage--In the vast majority of cases, any jobs that you get on campus will not pay very well. In most cases, you will get minimum wage or slightly more than that. Therefore, you will not likely select a work study job because of the paycheck.
  • Lack of options--When you work on campus, there are only so many job opportunities. There are not that many different types of jobs and limited openings within those job types. Therefore, unless you choose the right time to apply for a job, you may not be able to find one.

Off Campus Job Pros

  • Higher wages--With many off campus jobs, you will be able to secure a higher hourly wage. Most work-study jobs have to stick to certain wage requirements in order to meet the school's budget. These restrictions are not present when you venture off-campus. Many jobs could potentially pay you two or three times as much as you could make on campus.
  • Variety--By going off campus, you will be able to pick from a plethora of job options. In most college towns, there are many different businesses that would be willing to hire you. Therefore, regardless of what type of work you would like to get into, there is a good chance that you will be able to find it off campus.
  • Less strict rules--When you work on campus, there is a good chance that you will be subject to some fairly strict rules. You will have to beware of campus rules at all times even when you are at work.

Off Campus Job Cons

  • Time--If you get a job off-campus, you will have to spend more time in your car. You will have to travel to class and then travel again to your job.
  • Increased costs--By traveling to an off campus job, you will have to have a car and use money to maintain it. You will have to buy gas, change the oil, and worry about repairs.


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