Summary: An Additional Waiver of FWS Institutional-share Requirement
Author: ODAS - Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary - SFA
Posted December 1, 1997
We appreciate the enthusiastic response from institutions using the Federal Work-Study
(FWS) Program to support the America Reads Challenge. We are pleased to announce
an additional waiver of the FWS institutional-share requirement for tutors in a family
literacy program that provides services to families with children from infancy through
elementary school. Effective July 1, 1998, this new waiver will allow 100 percent of the
wages of an FWS tutor in a family literacy program to be paid from federal dollars.
For planning purposes, some initial questions and answers are provided below. A more
extensive "Dear Colleague" letter will be available by the end of February 1998.
1. How will this regulation change affect the current waiver for FWS reading tutors?
The Secretary of Education previously added a waiver of the FWS institutional-share
requirement for reading tutors of children, that went into effect on July 1, 1997. The new
FWS waiver, effective July 1, 1998, will provide additional flexibility for institutions to
help children read well and independently by the end of third grade. It applies to FWS
tutors working in a family literacy program and providing literacy services to children
from infancy through elementary school and/or to their parents or caregivers who may
need assistance with their own literacy skills.
2. Why did the Department of Education decide to make this change?
This new waiver for tutors working in family literacy programs is based on research that
shows that children whose parents work with them on literacy skills during early
childhood have a significantly better chance of reading well and independently.
Unfortunately, not all parents or caregivers have the literacy skills necessary to work
with their children to ensure that each child has the proper foundation for reading skills.
We have received comments from organizations that focus on family literacy indicating
that the expansion of the waiver to tutors involved in family literacy programs is very
important to meeting the goal of children reading well and independently by the end of
3. What is a family literacy program?
A "family literacy program" integrates the following:
Literacy tutoring for children
Literacy training for parents or caregivers of children in the program
Equipping parents or caregivers with the skills needed to partner with their children in
Literacy activities between parents or caregivers and their children
A more detailed explanation of family literacy programs will be provided in the February
"Dear Colleague" letter.
4. Will FWS reading tutors have to work in a family literacy program in order to qualify
for the matching requirement waiver?
No, FWS reading tutors may continue to tutor children who are not in a family literacy
program and still qualify for a waiver of the institutional-share requirement. The
regulation change will expand the waiver to allow FWS students to tutor in family
literacy programs that provide services to families with children from infancy through
elementary school. In either case, the FWS reading tutor must work for the institution
itself, for a Federal, State, or local public agency, or for a private nonprofit organization.
For the full text of the November 28, 1997 final regulation, please visit the following Web
We hope this regulation change will provide you with additional flexibility to respond to
the President's America Reads Challenge, which is mobilizing resources to ensure that all
children read well and independently by the end of third grade. Thank you for your
support of the America Reads Challenge!
Carol H. Rasco Elizabeth M. Hicks
Senior Advisor to the Secretary Deputy Assistant Secretary
Director, America Reads Challenge for Student Financial Assistance