Publication Date: March 2004
2004-2005 Federal Work-Study Community Service Waiver RequestsMarch 2004
SUBJECT: 2004-2005 Federal Work-Study Community Service Waiver Requests
SUMMARY: This letter provides information on requesting a waiver of the 2004-2005 Federal Work-Study Program community service expenditure requirements.
REFERENCE: Federal Student Aid Handbook, Volume 6, Federal Work-Study
This letter provides information, in a question and answer format, necessary for a school to request a waiver of the Federal Work-Study (FWS) community service requirements for the 2004-2005 award year.
Questions and Answers
Q1: What are the community service expenditure requirements?
A1: Each school that participates in the FWS Program is required to expend at least seven percent of its total FWS federal allocation to compensate students in community service employment. Also, in meeting that seven percent community service expenditure requirement, one or more of the school's FWS students must be employed as a reading tutor for children in a reading tutoring project or performing family literacy activities in a family literacy project. [34 CFR 675.18(g)(1)]
Q2: Who can approve a waiver request?
A2: The Secretary may waive one or both of these requirements if he determines that the school has demonstrated that enforcing the requirement(s) would cause a hardship for the students at that school. The fact that it may be difficult for the school to comply with the requirement(s) is not in and of itself a basis for granting a waiver. [34 CFR 675.18(g)(2)]
Q3: What are some examples of previously approved waivers?
A3: In the past, the Secretary has approved a limited number of waivers when schools were able to demonstrate an exceptional circumstance. Some examples are as follows:
- Small FWS Allocation - The school had a very small FWS allocation. The supporting information submitted by the school noted that seven percent of the school's allocation only provided enough funds for a student to work for a short period of time. Therefore, the school was unable to find placement for a student in community service.
- Rural Area - The school was in a rural area that was located far from the type of organizations that would normally provide community service jobs. The school provided information that showed that its students lacked the means of transportation to get to the location where the community service jobs were located. In a similar waiver request in which transportation did exist, a school provided documentation that showed that the transportation costs were extremely high for the students.
- Specialized Program - The school offered only a single program of specialized study that required its students to participate in extensive curriculum and classroom workloads. The school provided information that demonstrated that this specialized educational program prevented the students from performing community service jobs at the time those work opportunities were available.
Q4: What must my written waiver request include?
A4: Your written waiver request must:
- Include your school name, address, and campus-based serial number;
- Specify whether you are requesting a waiver of the seven percent requirement, the reading tutors of children or family literacy project requirement, or both;
- Include detailed information to demonstrate that complying with the requirement(s) would cause hardship for your students;
- Include the following statement: "I certify that the information I provided in this waiver request is true and accurate to the best of my knowledge. I understand that the information is subject to audit and program review by the U.S. Department of Education;" and
- Be signed by a school official.
Q5: Where do I send my waiver request?
A5: You may send your request by any one of the following methods:
- FAX to Pamela Wills at (202) 275-3476 or (202) 275-0950
- Deliver by hand (in person or commercial courier) to:
U.S. Department of Education
Campus-Based Operations Branch
830 First Street, NE
Washington, DC 20002
- Mail to the same above address for hand delivery, except use Zip Code 20202-5453.
Q6: When is my waiver request due?
A6: Any request that you mail must be postmarked no later than April 30, 2004. Any request that you fax or deliver by hand (in person or by commercial courier) must be received by 4:30 p.m., Eastern time, on April 30, 2004. Any requests that fail to meet the deadline requirements will not be considered.
Q7: What if I have additional questions about the FWS community service expenditure requirements or the procedures for requesting a waiver?
A7: You should contact the Campus-Based Call Center at (877) 801-7168.
Q8: What can I expect after I submit my waiver request by the deadline?
A8: We expect to notify you by email no later July 16, 2004, that the Secretary's decision to approve or deny your request has been posted to the eCampus-Based Programs website at http://www.cbfisap.ed.gov. You may view and/or print your decision letter from the "Self-Service" option at this website.
We appreciate your continued support in making FWS assistance available to needy students.
Campus-Based Operations Branch