College Students Can Now Get Paid to Work Polls, Register Voters Through Work-Study

Students can be paid through federal work-study to be poll workers on Election Day, register people to vote, and promote voting on and off campus.
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Published on March 1, 2024
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  • Vice President Kamala Harris announced the new policy during a meeting Feb. 27.
  • Colleges can pay students to help campus community members register to vote and staff voter registration activities.
  • Government agencies can hire students through work-study as nonpartisan poll workers and voting list verifiers.

Students can now earn extra work-study cash by taking part in voter registration activities and helping out on election day.

Vice President Kamala Harris announced Feb. 27 that students can get paid to register people to vote, work voting polls, work voter hotlines, and promote voting through federal work-study.

"As we know, this is important for a number of reasons," Harris said. "One, to engage our young leaders in this process and activate them in terms of their ability to strengthen our communities."

Federal work-study is a type of financial aid that allows students with financial need to work to help pay for college. Students earn at least the federal minimum wage, but the amount they receive will depend on their financial need and the school's funding.

According to the Department of Education (ED), if a student is employed by their college, the college can pay them for voter registration activities on or off campus, including:

  • Helping register students, faculty, staff, and other community members through voter registration drives
  • Staffing on-campus voter registration activities
  • Promoting voter registration and participation while working a work-study position (e.g., library, residence hall, campus offices)

Government agencies can also hire students as nonpartisan poll workers and voting list verifiers on and off campus through work-study. ED recommends colleges promote and identify opportunities for work-study voting jobs.

According to ED, Florida International University, Northwestern University, Alabama A&M University, and Simpson College have already used federal work-study funds to pay students for voting and election-related work.