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The Federal Work Study program is one of three federal campus based aid programs. For the student, it is a part time job in which the student receives a paycheck after working their hours. The funding for the position is provided by the Federal Government and not Eastern Oregon University. Students who receive Work Study awards usually find jobs on campus; however, EOU has several off campus Work Study contracts available. We can also look into setting up a new contract if you find another position you would like to have.
With regard to working in a FWS position during a period when the student is not attending classes, e.g., the summer term or winter term, the school must apply the attributed earnings to the cost of attendance for the next period of enrollment. So, while there is no statutory limitation on the number of hours a student may work during a period of non-enrollment, those earnings may affect a student’s eligibility for FWS funds and other financial aid during the next period in which the student is enrolled.
Eastern’s policy is that students may work no more than 29 hours a week during academic terms. Students may work over the 29-hour limitation during the summer months and breaks between terms. International students may jeopardize their Visa status by working over 20 hours per week and students with work-study may jeopardize their work-study status. For more information, please search the EOU Policy website for Student Employee Policy (2.15.05).
“In this issue, we’re taking a closer look at Federal Work-Study (FWS), a great additional resource to help pay for college. Through this program, students earn money to pay for college through part-time on-and off-campus jobs. FWS provides students an opportunity to gain work experience while pursuing their degree.”
Taking Advantage of Work-Study
Most colleges and universities award work-study funds on a first-come, first-served basis. This is why it is so important for students to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®) as early as possible each year, beginning their senior year of high school. Yet one commonly overlooked aspect of FAFSA® is the option to declare interest in work-study. This can cause an otherwise eligible student to miss out on a valuable opportunity.
Students lose nothing by selecting “Yes” to the question “Are you interested in being considered for work-study?” If students are awarded work-study, they are then able to decide whether to participate in the program once the term begins.
The FWS program is so much more than a form of financial aid, it’s also a powerful educational, career-preparation and community service internship program. In fact, the statutory purpose of the FWS program reads:
“…to encourage students receiving Federal student financial assistance to participate in community service activities that will benefit the Nation(sic) and engender in the students a sense of social responsibility and commitment to the community.”
The combination of the rising cost of attendance and the need to gain career-relevant skills and experiences before graduation are among the reasons many students today work while in college. According to the National Center for Education Statistics approximately 40% of full-time students and 80% of part-time college students participate in some form of paid employment. Working students represent a large portion of the student population on many college campuses.
Employment opportunities intentionally designed around learning and engagement enhance the student experience. Working alongside peers and other professionals helps build a student’s sense of identity, connection and value to the campus. This means colleges can leverage FWS as an effective way to support the following student success focus areas:
FWS is an effective strategy that addresses all these focus areas. A successful FWS program can support students’ financial security while improving their career-readiness and persistence.
Studies from the National Center for Education Statistics show that undergraduate students who work part-time in college (less than 20 hours per week) actually have higher GPAs than students who don’t work at all. Many students credit learning how to use the time they have to study more effectively; having to become more organized and learn time management skills in order to juggle going to college and having a job.
Community Service Jobs
According to Federal regulations, 7% of a college’s Federal Work-Study positions must be in service of the community. These positions can be either on or off campus. Nonprofit agencies generally qualify as community service employers. FWS positions must be in service of the community, according to Federal regulations. However, these jobs must be substantially relevant to the student’s program of study. Generally, nonprofit agencies qualify as community service employers.
Community services are defined as services that are designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, particularly low-income individuals, or to solve particular problems related to their needs.
These services include but are not limited to:
While a FWS student does not have to provide a “direct” service, the student must provide services designed to improve the quality of life for community residents or to solve particular problems related to those residents’ needs.
Community service jobs can be on or off-campus. But that doesn’t mean on-campus jobs automatically meet the community service criteria. On-campus community service jobs must provide services designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, or to solve problems related to their needs.
An often overlooked exception to off-campus employment is that colleges can contract with private for-profit companies to provide jobs for students; but these jobs must be substantially relevant to the student’s program of study. (For example, a student studying for a business administration degree could work in a bank handling customer transactions.) In these situations, private for-profit organizations do not qualify as employers for community service.
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Each year, federal employees submit project requests between May 1 and June 10. U.S. students apply to their top three VSFS projects from July 1-31 on USAJOBS.gov. VSFS supervisors review applications between August 1-31 and may contact VSFS candidates for a virtual interview. As part of the interview, candidates may be asked to show examples of their expertise and work. All candidates will hear by early September if they have been offered a position.
Selected eInterns work on their projects for ten hours a week from September through May. Some eInterns work with their academic institutions to receive course credit for their VSFS participation.
For more details, please visit the Student 🔗 and Mentor 🔗 FAQ sections.
Funds have been received under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act to be used directly in compensating "on-campus" students for financial losses that they have, or are currently experiencing, due to COVID-19.
To request assistance for a CARES Act covered loss, please submit an application by clicking the button below.