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(CB-97-12) Information regarding the Federal Work-Study Program and its community service aspects, including reading tutors of children.

DCLPublicationDate: 7/1/97
DCLID: CB-97-12
AwardYear:
Summary: Information regarding the Federal Work-Study Program and its community service aspects, including reading tutors of children.

July 1997

CB-97-12

SUMMARY: Information regarding the Federal Work-Study Program and its
community service aspects, including reading tutors of children.

REFERENCE: This letter supplements Chapter 7 of the Federal Student Financial Aid Handbook.


Dear Colleague:

The enclosure to this letter provides additional information in the form of Questions and Answers on administering the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program. A large portion of the information addresses issues concerning the community service aspects of the FWS Program, especially the use of FWS students as reading tutors of preschool age children and children in elementary school.

Funding for the FWS Program for the 1997-98 award year has been expanded to $830 million from the funding level of $616.5 million for the 1996-97 award year, an increase of $213.5 million. The President has challenged the higher education community to use one-half of that increase for community service. Because of these events, many institutions have requested additional FWS Program guidance. The FWS Program offers an excellent opportunity for institutions to respond to the President's "America Reads Challenge" by employing students as reading tutors for children to help ensure that all children will read independently and on grade level by the time they leave the third grade.

We appreciate your assistance and cooperation as we work together to expand the FWS Program to include more eligible students and to encourage more of them to participate in community service activities. If you have any questions on the FWS Program, please contact the Department's SFA Customer Support Branch. Staff members are available Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm (Eastern Time) at 1-800-433-7327. You may e-mail an inquiry to the Customer Support Branch at csb@ed.gov or fax an inquiry to
(202) 260-4199.
Sincerely,


Elizabeth M. Hicks
Deputy Assistant Secretary
Student Financial Assistance Programs
Enclosure

Questions and Answers for the Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program and its Community Service Component, Including Reading Tutors of Children

Contents


Page

Use of FWS Program Funds 1
Questions and Answers 1-6

Federal and Non-Federal Share Requirements 3
Questions and Answers 7-10

Community Service 4
Questions and Answers 11-21

Reading Tutors of Children 8
Questions and Answers 22-46

Academic Credit for a Job 13
Question and Answer 47

Periods of Nonenrollment 14
Questions and Answers 48-52

Use of FWS Program Funds
1. Question: How may an institution use FWS Federal funds?
Answer: An institution may only use its FWS Federal funds for the following purposes. The institution may use the FWS Federal funds to pay the Federal share of FWS student wages, to carry out certain administrative activities, and to pay the cost of certain activities under the Job Location and Development Program and the Work-Colleges Program. The institution may also transfer a portion of its FWS Federal funds to its Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Program.
2. Question: What is the maximum amount of FWS funds that may be transferred to the FSEOG Program?
Answer: An institution may transfer up to 25 percent of its total FWS allocation (initial and supplemental) to the FSEOG Program. The Department's permission is not required to do so. Please note that the total FWS allocation for an award year does not include "carry forward" or "carry back" FWS funds from other award years. The institution must report any transfer of FWS funds to the FSEOG Program as an expenditure on its Fiscal Operations Report and Application to Participate (FISAP). However, any FWS Program funds transferred to FSEOG during an award year that are not expended in FSEOG must be transferred back to the FWS Program at the end of that award year.
3. Question: Are institutions entitled to any funds to assist them in covering their expenses for administering the FWS Program?
Answer: Yes. An institution participating in any of the campus-based programs (Federal Perkins Loan, FWS, and FSEOG) is entitled to an administrative cost allowance (ACA) to help offset administrative expenses. Institutions may use the ACA to help pay the costs of administering not only the campus-based programs, but the Federal Pell Grant Program as well. The ACA may also cover expenses for carrying out the student consumer information services requirements.
An institution takes the ACA out of the annual authorizations the institution receives for the FSEOG and FWS programs and from the available cash on hand in its Federal Perkins Loan fund. It is not a separate allocation sent to the institution. An institution may take its ACA from any combination of the campus-based programs, or it may take the total allowance from only one campus-based program provided there are sufficient funds in that program. However, an institution may not draw any part of its ACA from a campus-based program unless the institution has disbursed funds to students from that program during the award year.


4. Question: What is the formula for calculating an institution's total ACA for the campus-based programs?
Answer: The institution calculates the total ACA it is entitled to for the campus-based programs by adding the following:
5% of the first $2,750,000 of an institution's total expenditures for students for an award year under the campus-based programs;
plus
4% of total expenditures for students for an award year greater than $2,750,000 but less than $5,500,000 under the campus-based programs;
plus
3% of total expenditures for students for an award year of $5,500,000 or greater under the campus-based programs.
5. Question: May an institution spend FWS funds allocated for one award year for activities occurring in another award year?
Answer: Yes. An institution may spend up to 10 percent of its current award year's total allocation of FWS funds for any allowable activities occurring in the following award year (carry forward). In addition, an institution may spend up to 10 percent of its current award year's total allocation of FWS funds for any allowable activities occurring in the previous award year (carry back). Any such uses of FWS funds must be reported on the FISAP. The official allocation letter for an award year is the institution's authority to perform these options. Before an institution spends any of its current award year's allocation, it must expend any funds transferred from the prior year.
An institution may also "carry back" FWS funds for summer employment. This means that an institution may use any portion of its total FWS allocation for the current award year to pay student wages earned on or after May 15 of the previous award year but prior to the beginning of the current award year (July 1). This "carry back" for summer employment authority is in addition to the 10 percent "carry back" authority previously discussed.
6. Question: What is the Job Location and Development (JLD) Program?
Answer: The JLD Program is one of the Federal Work-Study Programs. An institution is allowed to use up to the lesser of $50,000 or 10 percent of its total FWS allocation to establish or expand a JLD Program to locate and develop off-campus jobs for currently
enrolled students who want jobs, regardless of their financial need. The JLD Program encourages both students who are eligible for FWS and students who are not eligible for FWS to participate in community service activities such as reading tutors of children. Detailed information on the JLD Program is found in a May 1997 "Dear Colleague" letter (CB-97-5).
Federal and Non-Federal Share Requirements
7. Question: What are the Federal share limitations for FWS wages?
Answer: Except for certain waivers allowed under the FWS regulations (See question #8 below), the Federal share of FWS wages paid to students employed by other than a private for-profit organization may not exceed 75 percent. The non-Federal share of FWS wages must be at least 25 percent. An institution may use any resource available to pay its share of FWS compensation except Federal funds allocated under the FWS Program or other sources that would prohibit such use. The institution's share may come from its own funds, from outside funds (such as from an off-campus agency), or from both. The institution also has the option of paying its share of a student's FWS wages in the form of a noncash contribution of services or equipment (e.g., tuition and fees, room and board, and books and supplies).
The Federal share of FWS wages paid to students employed by a private for-profit organization may not exceed 50 percent. The private for-profit organization must contribute the non-Federal share funds.
8. Question: Under what circumstances are the FWS institutional-share requirements for student wages waived?
Answer: The FWS institutional-share requirements for student wages may be waived under the following circumstances:
a. Title III Institutions. The Department may authorize a Federal share of 100 percent of FWS compensation earned by a student at institutions designated as eligible institutions under the Strengthening Institutions Program, the Strengthening Historically Black Colleges and Universities Program, or the Strengthening Historically Black Graduate Institutions Program. The institution must request the increased Federal share for an award year on the FISAP for that year, and the work performed by the student must be for the institution itself, for a Federal, State, or local public agency, or for a private nonprofit organization.
b. Reading Tutors of Children. Effective July 1, 1997, the Department is providing for a new waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement. The Department will authorize a Federal share of up to 100 percent of the compensation earned by an FWS student
employed as a reading tutor of preschool age children and children in elementary school. The work must be performed by the FWS student for the institution itself, for a Federal, State, or local public agency, or for a private nonprofit organization. The institution does not have to make a request to the Department to use this new waiver. Important information on this new waiver is found in questions #22 through #46 under the heading "Reading Tutors of Children."
This new waiver will provide an institution with the flexibility needed to respond to the President's "America Reads Challenge," which will mobilize resources to ensure that all children can read independently and well by the end of the third grade. The Department strongly encourages all institutions to place FWS students in jobs as reading tutors for children. Since most reading tutor placements also meet the definition of community service, the placement of students in FWS jobs as reading tutors for children can be an important way for institutions to meet the community service expenditure requirement under the FWS Program. It can also help to serve the needs of the community and give FWS students a rewarding and enriching experience.
9. Question: Are there any limitations on the waivers of the institutional-share requirement for the FWS Program?
Answer: There are several limitations on the waivers. The waivers apply only to the non-Federal share of student wages. Employers are still responsible for the employer's share of social security, worker's compensation, retirement, or any other welfare or insurance program that the employer must pay for an employee, and for any fringe benefits. An institution must also ensure that the proper Federal and non-Federal shares are provided for any portion of its FWS allocation that it expends under the provisions governing student employment provided by a private for-profit organization (50 percent Federal-share limitation) or for the administration of the Job Location and Development Program (80 percent Federal-share limitation). The non-Federal share requirement for these two categories of FWS expenditures may not be waived.
10. Question: For those cases where a waiver of the institutional-share applies, may an institution still provide a share?
Answer: Yes. For all cases where a waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirements applies, the institution has the option of continuing to provide a share and determining the amount of that share.
Community Service
11. Question: What is the required amount of FWS Federal funds that an institution must use for community service activities? Answer: Effective with the 1994-95 award year, an institution is required to use at least 5 percent of its total FWS allocation for each award year to pay the Federal share of wages to students employed in community service jobs. However, when an institution receives reallocated FWS funds, the minimum amount of FWS Federal funds the institution must expend on community service jobs is the greater of:
1. Five (5) percent of the total FWS allocation; or
2. The amount of the reallocated FWS funds.
12. Question: What is the definition of community services for the purpose of the FWS Program?
Answer: Community services are defined by the statute and regulations as: Services that are identified by an institution of higher education, through formal or informal consultation with local nonprofit, governmental, and community-based organizations, as designed to improve the qualify of life for community residents, particularly low-income individuals, or to solve particular problems related to their needs. For example, these services may include--
(1) Work in such fields as health care, child care, literacy training, education (including tutorial services), welfare, social services, transportation, housing and neighborhood improvement, public safety, crime prevention and control, recreation, rural development, and community improvements;
(2) Work in service opportunities or youth corps as defined in section 101 of the National and Community Service Act of 1990, and service in the agencies, institutions and activities designated in section 124(a) of that Act;
(3) Support services to students (other than an institution's own students) with disabilities; and
(4) Activities in which a student serves as a mentor for such purposes as tutoring, supporting educational and recreational activities, and counseling, including career counseling.
13. Question: May an FWS student, for off-campus employment, be paid for the time spent traveling or be reimbursed for travel expenses?
Answer: No. However, an FWS student working off-campus may be paid a higher wage that will help the student with the lost time and commuting cost. Also, an institution might be able to help resolve the travel problem. For example, if a number of FWS students travel to the same location at the same time, it might be possible to provide transportation with the institutionÂ’s van or bus. In addition, remember that the amount of earnings from an FWS job that is applied to a student's cost of attendance is calculated by subtracting from the student's gross earnings any taxes and job related costs that the student pays, such as transportation.
14. Question: May a student employed in a community service activity under the FWS Program work with non-paid volunteers?
Answer: Yes. However, an FWS student may not provide voluntary services to an employer. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, prohibits employers (including postsecondary institutions) from accepting voluntary services from any paid employee. Any student employed under FWS must be paid for all hours worked.
15. Question: Under what circumstances will the Department grant waivers of the requirement that institutions must use at least 5 percent of their total FWS allocation for paying FWS students performing community services?
Answer: An institution may request in writing from the Department a waiver of the 5 percent FWS community service requirement. The Department approves a waiver only if it determines that the institution has demonstrated that meeting the requirement would cause a hardship for students at the institution. The Department does not foresee many instances in which a waiver would be granted. However, to allow flexibility to consider factors that are valid reasons for a waiver, the Department does not specify the particular circumstances that would warrant a waiver. The fact that it may be difficult for an institution to comply with this provision is not a basis for granting a waiver.
16. Question: May on-campus jobs meet the definition of community services?
Answer: Yes. On-campus jobs may meet the definition of community services provided that the services are open and accessible to the community. A university or college is not considered a community in and of itself for this purpose. A service is considered open to the community if the service is publicized to the community and the general public uses the service. If the service is provided only to students, faculty, staff, and their families, the job does not meet the definition of community services under the FWS Program.
For example, it would be acceptable for an institution to employ students in services located on the campus (e.g., tutoring centers or child care centers) if such services are open to the community. It would also be acceptable for an institution to employ students in services at various sites in the community if it opens the services to the community. In addition to the general public, students, faculty, staff, and their families may also use the services.
17. Question: If a student is employed with an agency or organization that provides community services, must that student have a job description that identifies the work to be performed as meeting the definition of community services?
Answer: Yes. As with any FWS position, the institution must have a job description that includes the duties and the responsibilities of the position. In determining whether the service is community service, the institution must always consider whether the service provided by the FWS student primarily benefits the community as opposed to the agency or institution. For example, if a private nonprofit agency hired an FWS student to take care of the grounds at a public park that job would be community service. However, if the FWS student was hired to take care of the grounds for the administrative offices of the private nonprofit agency that job would not be community service.
18. Question: Must the service provided be "direct" in order for the work performed by a student to meet the definition of community services?
Answer: No. The job duties must include providing services that are designed to improve the quality of life for community residents or solve particular problems related to their needs. The Department has provided flexibility to institutions to determine which jobs provide service to the community. Institutions are encouraged to develop jobs that instill a sense of social responsibility in the students and touch the lives of community residents in a meaningful and lasting way. The Secretary does not intend to indicate that certain activities are more important than others or that only jobs that have "direct" contact with community members are acceptable. For example, an FWS student working for a "meals on wheels" program for the elderly may prepare those meals without any "direct" contact with the community recipients.
19. Question: In an off-campus community service job, who will be responsible for the employer's payment of social security or workers' compensation -- the institution, or the public agency or private nonprofit organization?
Answer: If an institution has FWS students employed by a public agency or private nonprofit organization, it must enter into a written agreement with that agency or organization. The agreement sets forth the FWS work conditions and establishes whether the institution, or the public agency or private nonprofit organization will be the employer. The agreement must also indicate whether the institution, or the public agency or private nonprofit organization will pay the students. The agreement may require the employer to pay the non-Federal share of earnings and the required employer costs such as the employer's share of social security or workers' compensation.
20. Question: Has the Department developed a sample contract to use with outside agencies employing FWS students in community service jobs?
Answer: Yes. A model off-campus agreement appears in the Federal Student Financial Aid Handbook as an Appendix to Chapter 7. This agreement is a suggested model for the development of a written agreement between an institution and a Federal, State, or local public agency, or private nonprofit organization that employs students participating in the FWS Program. As stated in the model, institutions and agencies or organizations may devise additional or substitute paragraphs that are consistent with the statute and regulations and may add any pertinent information that orients the agreement towards community services.
21. Question: Do private for-profit organizations qualify as employers for meeting the 5 percent community service requirement under the FWS Program?
Answer: No. The statute does not allow this.
Reading Tutors of Children
22. Question: What is the Department's definition of a "reading tutor" for purposes of the new waiver of the institutional-share requirement under the FWS Program?
Answer: The Department has provided flexibility to institutions to determine the job description and duties of a reading tutor. Therefore, the Department is not providing a definition of a "reading tutor" for the FWS Program. The FWS regulations provide, however, that in order for an institution to obtain a waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement for students employed as reading tutors, the students must be tutoring preschool age children or children in elementary school. For example, an FWS student reading to a group of preschoolers in a public library would meet this requirement.
23. Question: Must FWS students who are employed as reading tutors of children meet certain statutory or regulatory educational standards or qualifications for purposes of the waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement?
Answer: No. However, it is very important that the FWS reading tutors have adequate reading skill and, as noted in question #24, it is strongly recommended that the FWS reading tutors be well-trained before they tutor.
24. Question: Do the FWS students hired as reading tutors of children need to be trained?
Answer: It is strongly recommended that FWS students be well-trained before they tutor. When FWS students receive training from a reading specialist or expert for sufficient
duration and intensity, they are more likely to be successful with the child they are helping learn to read.
In addition, tutor training should emphasize the importance of the reading tutor communicating with the regular classroom teacher to maximize effectiveness. For example, it is important for FWS reading tutors to be trained in a way that builds on the childÂ’s in-class reading program.
It is also important to note that the amount and type of training for reading tutors will often vary depending on the child being tutored; for example, a preschool age child will have different needs than a 3rd grader, or a child with a disability will have different needs from a child without a disability.
25. Question: Must the reading tutoring of children be held only in a school setting to qualify for the new waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement?
Answer: No. For example, the reading tutoring could take place at a public library or a community center.
26. Question: Must the reading tutoring of children take place only during the regular school hours of the children?
Answer: No. The programs that provide reading tutoring for children may also take place after school, on weekends, or in the summer. The institution may construct its own reading tutor program or join existing community programs.
27. Question: Is the new waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement for reading tutors of children only for one award year?
Answer: No. The new regulatory waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement for reading tutors of children is available starting with the 1997-98 award year and will also be available for the following award years. It would take a regulatory change for the waiver to be removed and no such change is contemplated.
28. Question: May students employed as reading tutors under the FWS Program tutor children in parochial schools?
Answer: Yes, under certain conditions. Under the FWS Program regulations that are effective as of July 1, 1997, an institution may pay an FWS student a Federal share of up to 100 percent if the student works for the institution itself, a public agency, or a private nonprofit organization and the FWS student is a reading tutor of preschool age children or children in elementary school. In order for a parochial school to be considered a
private nonprofit school, it must be classified as such by the Internal Revenue Service or a State taxing body.
Under the statutory and regulatory requirements for the FWS Program, the work may not involve constructing, operating, or maintaining any part of a building used for religious worship or sectarian instruction. Also, students employed as reading tutors may not use religious material to tutor the children.

29. Question: Do FWS reading tutors for children need to have background checks performed before tutoring?

Answer: Whether there need to be background checks is not covered by the FWS statute or regulations. However, some State and local jurisdictions require such background checks to be performed. Further, the requirements will vary according to the agency or organization involved. For example, public schools may require that any employee have a background check performed for the safety of the children and insurance purposes.

30. Question: Does the reading tutoring of children have to be one-on-one or may it be done in groups?

Answer: The FWS student may perform the reading tutoring one-on-one or in a group.

31. Question: Is there any limit on the amount of funds an institution can spend from its FWS allocation to pay FWS students employed as reading tutors of children under the new waiver?

Answer: No. An institution may spend any portion of its FWS allocation to pay FWS students employed as reading tutors of children with a Federal share of up to 100 percent. The President has requested that institutions use at least half of their FWS increases for community service activities, particularly for tutoring children to read. Institutions are encouraged to do even more if they are able to do so.

32. Question: May the JLD Program be used to locate or develop jobs for FWS students as reading tutors of children?

Answer: Yes. The JLD Program may be used to locate and develop jobs for FWS and non-FWS students as reading tutors of children. However, using JLD funds to find only jobs for FWS students would not satisfy the statutory requirement to expand off-campus jobs for currently enrolled students who want jobs, regardless of their financial need.

33. Question: What is the meaning of preschool age children for purposes of the new waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement for tutoring children in reading?


Answer: The new institutional-share waiver for tutoring children in reading is available for tutoring children from infancy to the time at which the State provides elementary education, as well as for tutoring children in elementary school.

34. Question: Since the definition of an elementary school varies from State to State, will the Department provide guidance to institutions on what it determines to be the maximum grade level for elementary school for purposes of the new waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement for tutoring children in reading?

Answer: No. The Department will not interfere with a State's determination of what constitutes children who are in elementary school. State laws do vary in their definition of elementary school. In some States elementary school ends after the sixth grade. Other determinations may also exist.

35. Question: Since the institution will not be required to request from the Department the new waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement for students employed as reading tutors for children, how will the Department know whether an institution used this waiver?

Answer: The FISAP that will be filed by an institution no later than October 1, 1998, for reporting FWS expenditures for the 1997-98 award year will be revised to collect information involving the new waiver of the institutional-share matching requirement for FWS students that worked as reading tutors for children.

36. Question: What specific information on reading tutors of children will an institution have to report for the 1997-98 award year when it files its FISAP in the fall of 1998?

Answer: The Department plans to revise the FISAP to collect data on the number of FWS students employed as reading tutors of children, total earned compensation paid to these students, and the Federal dollars spent for the compensation.

37. Question: Does the job of reading tutor of children always satisfy the community service requirement?

Answer: No. Some reading tutor jobs might qualify for a waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement but not qualify as part of the 5 percent community service requirement. An example of this would be if an institution employed FWS students to tutor young children in that institution's day care center and the only children in the day care center are those of the school's students, staff, and faculty.

38. Question: May students be paid FWS wages while they are training for positions as reading tutors of children?


Answer: Yes, under limited circumstances. Every job consists of some type of training, whether formal or informal. Therefore, FWS students would be eligible for wages during a training period conducted for a reasonable length of time.

39. Question: Do the FWS student's wages qualify for a Federal share of up to 100 percent while that student is being trained as a reading tutor of children?

Answer: Yes, under limited circumstances. The Department considers a necessary training period conducted for a reasonable length of time to be important for the job of a reading tutor of children.

40. Question: Do the wages of an FWS student who is training reading tutors of children or performing administrative tasks (e.g., coordinating) related to supporting other people who are actually providing the reading tutoring qualify for a Federal share of up to 100 percent?

Answer: No. The new waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement is only for a student employed as a reading tutor of preschool age children and children in elementary school. The wages of any FWS student training reading tutors or performing administrative tasks (e.g., coordinating) related to supporting other people who are actually providing the reading tutoring would require an institutional share.

41. Question: May a reading tutor of children be paid with a Federal share of up to 100 percent for preparation and evaluation time as well as actual tutoring time?

Answer: Yes. The Department expects all work performed under the FWS Program to meet the FWS Program requirements and that the students will be compensated for a reasonable amount of time to perform various activities necessary to accomplish their reading tutoring jobs.

42. Question: How does the institution determine whether the new waiver for reading tutors of children applies when an FWS student spends only part of his or her work time tutoring children to read (including preparation and evaluation time for the tutoring)?

Answer: The new waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement for working as a reading tutor of children does not apply during the time when an FWS student is working at a job other than tutoring. For example, suppose that an FWS student spends only half of his or her time working as a reading tutor of children (including preparation and evaluation time) and the rest of the time is spent on performing non-tutoring tasks. That FWS student may be paid 100 percent Federal funds only for half the time and the other half must be paid for with a maximum of 75 percent Federal funds and a minimum of 25 percent non-Federal funds.
43. Question: May an institution use its ACA to cover the costs of training the reading tutors of children?

Answer: Yes. As stated in question #3, institutions participating in the campus-based programs are allowed to use their ACA to help offset administrative costs. Training costs such as helping to pay a professional trainer to train the reading tutors of children would be allowed.

44. Question: May institutions use a portion of their ACA to cover expenses incurred when employing students as reading tutors of children with local school districts that they may not have incurred with other organizations?

Answer: Yes. For example, to work in one local school district all employees must undergo a background check and be fingerprinted at a cost of $40.00 per student. If a school district requires such a clearance check and fingerprinting, the costs of such activities would be considered necessary in the operation of its FWS Program and may be charged to the institution's ACA. Another example would be the costs for FWS students to be inoculated.

45. Question: Does the FWS Program provide for any special funding for technical assistance and training of reading tutors of children beyond the ACA funds?

Answer: No. The FWS Program does not provide for any additional funds beyond the ACA for this purpose.

46. Question: What documentation must the institution keep as support for the new waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement for students employed as reading tutors for children?

Answer: The institution must be able to identify the FWS students who performed the reading tutoring of children. Further, the institution must be able to provide the job description that demonstrates that these FWS students worked as reading tutors of children. In addition, the institution must have records to support the hours worked and the amount paid to the FWS students that were reading tutors.

Academic Credit for a Job

47. Question: Does the receipt of academic credit for a job disqualify that job from being part of the FWS Program?

Answer: No. However, there are certain restrictions. For a student who must complete an internship or practicum as part of his or her degree requirement, the internship or practicum does not qualify under the FWS program unless the employer normally pays
all other persons who hold the same position or has paid all other persons who have held the same position in the past. If the employer normally pays or has paid these persons, the internship or practicum qualifies as an FWS job. An example of an internship that normally does not qualify as an FWS job is student teaching. A student who receives academic credit for an FWS job should not be paid any less than he or she would be paid if no academic credit were received. A student may not be paid under the FWS Program for receiving instruction in a classroom, laboratory, or other academic setting.

Periods of Nonenrollment

48. Question: May a student be employed under the FWS Program during a period of nonenrollment?

Answer: Yes. A student may be employed under FWS during a period of nonenrollment, such as a summer or equivalent vacation period or the full-time work period of a cooperative education program. To be eligible for this employment, a student must be planning to enroll or to reenroll at the institution for the next regular session. The institution must determine the amount of the student's earnings during this period of nonenrollment that is to be applied to the student's cost of attendance (attributed earnings) for the next period of enrollment.

49. Question: If a student whose eligibility for FWS employment during the summer was based on anticipated enrollment in the subsequent term fails to attend, what is the institution's responsibility?

Answer: When a student fails to attend the subsequent term, the institution must be able to demonstrate that the student was eligible for employment and that the institution had reason to believe the student intended to study at that institution in the next term. At a minimum, the institution must keep a written record in its files showing that the student had accepted the institution's offer of admittance in the upcoming session.

50. Question: How does an institution determine the amount of a student's earnings during a period of nonenrollment that must be applied to the student's cost of attendance for the next period of enrollment.

Answer: The institution would subtract taxes and job related costs that the student pays from the student's gross earnings from the FWS job, and the remaining earnings would be applied to the student's cost of attendance for the next period of enrollment.

51. Question: What job related costs are allowed during periods of nonenrollment?

Answer: Job related costs are those costs that a student incurs because of his or her job, such as costs for uniforms and transportation to and from work. In some circumstances,
room and board costs may be considered job related costs. For example, during vacation periods, room and board costs may be job related costs if the student is paying them only because he or she has an FWS job. However, to provide FWS employment only to meet a student's subsistence costs during a period of nonenrollment would not be in keeping with the program's statutory purpose.

52. Question: Is a student allowed to have an FWS job during a period of nonenrollment in the summer if that job is located outside the State where his or her institution is located?

Answer: Yes. For an institution that has off-campus agreements, the Department recommends that the institution periodically visit each organization with which it has such an agreement to determine whether students are doing appropriate work and whether the terms of the agreement are being fulfilled. However, if such visits are not feasible because of distance and cost, the institution should use alternative methods to ensure the prudent management of the FWS Program. For example, the institution may have periodic conference calls with the supervisor and student or receive reports on the work performed. Thus, an institution could, in fact, enter into an agreement with an organization outside of its area to employ a student under the FWS Program during a period of nonenrollment in the summer even though an on-site job visit is not feasible. Institutions are encouraged to consider this practice as an excellent means of satisfying their 5 percent requirement to employ students in community service jobs and of meeting the President's challenge to increase their community service participation.

Last Modified: 06/30/1997