Federal Work Study

The Higher Education Act (HEA) states that one of the purposes of the FWS program is “to encourage students receiving Federal student financial assistance to participate in community service activities that will benefit the Nation and engender in the students a sense of social responsibility and commitment to the community.” The HEA requires that all higher education institutions participating in the FWS program allocate at least seven percent of their annual FWS funding to student jobs that provide community service. Schools that can demonstrate that meeting this requirement would create hardship to its students may obtain a waiver from the Secretary of Education.12804750_10153916755820242_8992505127071469123_n.png

Institutions are encouraged to provide a wide range of community placements for FWS students. Generally, Federal Work-Study funds are matched by community agencies 3-1 (75% federal - 25% match). Many institutions contribute a part or the entire required match for community service jobs. Currently, the Higher Education Act includes only a few clarifying provisions or exceptions in Federal Work-Study Community Service programs:

  • FWS community service employment may include internships.
  • Campus jobs providing childcare or services to students with disabilities qualify under the community-service requirement.
  • Colleges receiving FWS funds are required to support at least one project that compensates work-study students employed as tutors for pre-school and elementary school children or who work in a family literacy project as part of the community-service requirement.
  • Federal Work-Study funds can be used to compensate students for time spent traveling or in training directly related to the community-service position.
  • Administrators should provide "a reasonable share" of awards to part-time and independent students.
  • The federal share of work-study award is capped at 75%, with several exceptions. The limit can be waived completely for tutoring programs that teach reading and mathematics to preschool and elementary school children, such as America Reads and America Counts. The federal share can also rise to 90 percent for students working in service jobs at needy nonprofit agencies. However, no more than 10% of a college's work-study participants can be employed in positions for which the federal share exceeds 75%.

State Compact FWS Work

  1. California College of the Arts
  2. CSU Fresno
  3. Glendale Community College
  4. Stanford University
  5. University of Redlands
  6. University of San Diego
  7. Keene State College
  8. New Hampshire Technical Institute
  9. Southern New Hampshire University
  10. University of New Hampshire - Manchester

Campus Models

  1. Retention and Collaboration: IUPUI’s Office of Community Work-Study
  2. Faith-based Service: FWS at Azusa Pacific University
  3. Financial Aid Professionals at the Center: Colorado College’s FWS Progam
  4. Service in a Rural Setting: Meaningful Programs at Kirtland Community College District
  5. “We Can Do More!”: Campus-Community Collaboration at the University of South Florida
  6. Program Development through Evaluation: Family Literacy at Simmons College
  7. From Dysfunction to Coordination: America Reads at the University of Minnesota
  8. Nurturing the Whole Student: Service-based Programs at Pfeiffer University
  9. Creative Solutions: Summer Work-Study and Professional Placements at the University of Montana
  10. Testing Tutor Training Effectiveness: Service-Learning at Fresno State
  11. The Student Ambassador Leadership Model: FWS and Service-Learning at Miami Dade College
  12. Creating Public Service Leaders: Student-Led Work at Harvard College
  13. “I Found Out What I Want to Do”: FWS and Workforce Development at Central Piedmont Community College
  14. Take the Lead: A Transformative Leadership Series at Oberlin College
  15. Beginning Leadership: FWS and Student Leaders at Linn-Benton Community College

National Compact resources

California Campus Compact Main Page

Federal Work-Study Handbook for Financial Aid Professionals (provided by the Department of Education)



PDFicon.jpgInsights for Community Service Federal Work Study

 PDFicon.jpg Principles of Best Practice in Community Service Work Study