Federal Work-Study Program

October 2010–September 2011

Since 1964, the Federal Work-Study (FWS) program has provided funds to higher education institutions to subsidize the wages of financially eligible student employees. This study aimed to advance understanding of the effects of student employment by providing a direct, quasi-experimental examination of the consequences of FWS on student achievement, persistence, and completion, using nationally representative longitudinal data from the Beginning Postsecondary Student (BPS) database. The empirical strategy exploited the fact that FWS allocations vary idiosyncratically across institutions, generating plausibly exogenous variation in eligible students’ likelihood of employment.

This study was funded by the Spencer Foundation.