Advertiser disclosure

Are Work Study Earnings Taxed?

If you hold a work study position, you may be wondering if you have to pay taxes on your income. The short answer is yes, but there’s a few details you should know about. Read on to learn about tax credits you can use, how work study affects your financial aid eligibility, and how to report work study earnings on your tax returns. 

See also: Does financial aid count as income?

Do you have to pay taxes on work study?

Yes, earnings from work study jobs are taxable income. This means you should include income from your work study position when filing your taxes. Fortunately, you’re exempt from FICA taxes (social security and Medicare taxes) if you’re enrolled in 6 or more credit hours or you’re working on campus. However, you’re still subject to paying federal and state income tax on your work study earnings.

Also read: Does financial aid count as income?

Are all work study jobs taxed? 

The general rule of thumb is that if you hold a work study position, you’re subject to paying taxes on your income. However, there are certain work study positions that are completely tax-exempt. These include positions sponsored by the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program and the Armed Forces Health Professions Scholarship Program. If you’re majoring in a health-related field, these two programs are worth checking out. 

Can I use any tax credits or deductions?

If you’re using earnings from your work study job to pay for tuition, you’re eligible for the American Opportunity Tax Credit (AOTC). If you qualify for the AOTC, you can receive a maximum annual credit of $2,500. You can fill out information regarding this credit when you file your tax returns. You may also qualify for the Lifetime Learning Credit (LLC), but you aren’t allowed to claim this credit the same year you use the AOTC. 

Does work study income affect my financial aid eligibility? 

The big benefit of work study jobs is that they do not affect students’ financial aid eligibility. Earnings from work study positions won’t count against you when you file for FAFSA the following year. This means you shouldn’t receive a lower financial aid package because of your work study job. 

Meanwhile, income from regular non-work study jobs does count towards your FAFSA and may prevent you from receiving the same amount of financial aid in the future. So if you’re weighing the benefits of a work study position versus a higher paying job in the private sector, this is one factor to keep in mind.

Also read: Necessary FAFSA Materials: What you need to apply

How do I report work study earnings on my tax returns?

Your employer will provide you with a W-2 form that contains all the information you need to report work study earnings on your tax returns. Fortunately, you don’t have to pay to file your income taxes from work study. The IRS provides a free tax filing tool you can use when it comes time to do your taxes. You must file your taxes by April 15 every year, but make sure to give yourself plenty of time to meet this deadline. Consult your financial aid office or a tax professional if you have further questions about how work study affects your tax situation. 

Keep reading: CSS Profile vs. FAFSA: What you need to know