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You may decide to pay for some of your college expenses by taking a part-time job. Retail shops and restaurants, which often abound next to campus and cater to the local college population, often hire students as part-time workers.
While a part-time job may only pay the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour (as of July 24, 2009), the extra income makes a difference. For students who rely on student loans to help pay for college, the extra income means having to borrow less.
At the current minimum wage, working 10 hours a week for 30 weeks a year (the estimated length of a school year) adds up to about $2,175 before taxes. As a result, a student who relies on student loans may be able to borrow that much less if they stick to a personal budget. If the student works through the summer, they are easily able to earn another $1,000 with perhaps a slight increase in weekly work hours.
This $3,175 in annual loan savings adds up to $12,700 over a four-year period -- a significant reduction in college-funding expenses.
Of course, most student part-time jobs offer no health insurance or other benefits. However, if you can find the right job with a mutually beneficial work schedule, you may find that a part-time job offers sufficient financial rewards.
Work-Study, which is a form of federal financial aid, provides eligible students with campus- or community-based work. Students ineligible for Work-Study (or who do not submit a FAFSA) can turn to the retail stores and restaurants that are often located near campus.
When seeking a part-time job as a college student, you may wish to keep in mind:
In addition to earning extra income, working part-time as a college student teaches financial responsibility, self-discipline and other good habits. It's important, however, that a part-time job doesn't conflict with your primary objective of completing your college education.
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