smart spending

6 summer job options for college students

Work-study jobs

"If you're smart about picking a work-study job, it can actually give you more real-world experience than a summer retail job," says Caroline Ceniza-Levine, a career coach and founder of SixFigureStart consulting in New York City.

Ranging from research assistant to recycling manager, work-study positions won't make you rich -- the pay is usually just above minimum wage -- but they are flexible and won't subtract from your financial aid eligibility as much as other jobs. The federal government currently allows students to earn up to $3,000 in income without it affecting their financial aid package. For every dollar earned over the $3,000 benchmark, students will lose 50 cents in federal scholarships and grants, reports the Department of Education. Work-study jobs along with earnings from the Peace Corp, AmeriCorps and Teach for America are exempt from this clause, so students are free to earn away without any repercussions.

Students seeking work-study jobs for the academic year may have more say in where they're placed if they can start during the summer, says Ceniza-Levine. At campuses that empty out during summer, work-study students will have significantly lower competition for the best jobs.

Build a business

Forget showing up in a monkey suit from 9 to 5. Students who really want to make money this summer will start their own business.

"It's really easy. Get off your (butt), walk outside and look around for what needs to be done," says Cameron Herold, founder of the Vancouver-based corporate mentoring company BackPocket COO. "Students don't really need any money or special skills to do it. I paid my entire first year of college selling wineskins door to door."

Herold says students can get started doing basic jobs like baby-sitting, cutting lawns, doing home repair and running errands for the elderly. But students can also find work teaching businesses how to use social media, designing Web sites and promoting events.

"Businesses make a lot more than summer jobs anyway," Herold says. "You can usually charge $20 or $30 per hour for services, plus you can take tax write-offs."

Students can get started and connect to other young CEOs by checking out youngentrepreneur.com and c-e-o.org.

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