Federal work-study is a program that offers students flexible part-time jobs (usually on-campus) to help pay for college costs. When you complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), you will be asked if you are interested in participating in work-study. Students often have questions about the work-study program, so we decided to ask our own StepUp to Higher Education work-study employees – Marcella and Max – about their experience.

Name one lesson or skill you have learned from work-study

Maxwell: What I learned from this job is to make connections and be willing to receive feedback from other people. I feel so happy to hear from my fellow students saying they are happy I can help them with their college problems. A student told me that he is so happy working with me (a fellow student) because he approaches me as a peer and can ask me all his questions without feeling any embarrassment. Such feedback is great and wonderful and adds more value and credibility to federal work-study.


MarcellaI have developed empathy for students and families because I can talk with them and hear their stories. The flexible work-study schedule has also taught me how to manage my schedule when it is truly up to me. Since high school, I have not had the ability to choose classes that interest me or that take place at the right time to meet my needs. It has been a strange learning curve in managing my time and staying productive when I am not required to work if I do not “want to.” I have loved renewing my hobbies and taking some time for myself.


This interview is part 2 of our 4-part #WhyWorkStudy series. Visit stepuputah.com to read the whole series.


University of Utah student and StepUp federal work-study employee, Maxwell Ayeliya


University of Utah student and StepUp federal work-study employee, Marcella Sweet