Examining Federal Work-Study Task Force Report

The primary purpose of NASFAA’s Examining Federal Work-Study Task Force was to examine what changes institutions implemented during the COVID-19 pandemic to their Federal Work-Study (FWS) programs (especially given the temporary nature of the FWS flexibilities), what challenges they are facing now as they look to transition back to the original regulations, and what flexibilities may be required for this program to continue to be successful in the future. Along with recommendations for the Department of Education and Congress on ways to improve and bolster the FWS program, the task force researched and put forth best practices institutions are using in utilizing their FWS funding.

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The full set of the recommendations and best practices can be viewed in this report. Highlights of those recommendations and best practices include:

Recommendations

  1. Institutions should be allowed to transfer up to 60% of their FWS allocation to the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) program.
  2. The 7% FWS community service requirement should be removed, but institutions should still be encouraged to continue to offer community service jobs and maintain the federal funding to do so.
  3. Institutions, after offering FWS to all eligible students with need, should be permitted to use up to 30% of their allocation toward students without unmet financial need with priority given to students with the lowest SAIs.
  4. Increase the current over-award tolerance of $300 for campus-based programs to $1,500.
  5. Pause institutional FWS allocation reduction due to under-spending during the pandemic by institutions until 2028 – five years after the end of the pandemic.

Best Practices

  1. The office that handles student employment may consider establishing a mentoring program between FWS supervisors and the student employees they supervise.
  2. The office that handles student employment may consider encouraging departments that participate in FWS to be innovative when creating or modifying available jobs.
  3. The campus office responsible for student employment may consider building cross-campus relationships and leveraging partnerships between entities with similar goals related to FWS.
  4. Institutions that require community service as part of a program of study should consider making FWS community service eligible for the program requirement regardless of pay status.
  5. All student employees, regardless of their employment funding source, should be paid based on the same wage schedule for the institution.

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