What is Federal Work Study?
The Federal Work Study program, regulated by the U.S. Department of Education, was created by the federal government in 1964 as a part-time employment program for low-income students. Its most important purpose was and is to increase access to higher education by providing work opportunities for students who need wages in order to attend college or university. FWS is generally just one part of a student’s overall financial aid package. Most FWS students at colleges and universities work on campus in various positions within academic departments, the cafeteria, the library, or other areas.*
How does the Community Work Study program fit within FWS?
In 1965 revision to the Higher Education Act clarified that work performed by FWS students was “for the institution itself or work in the public interest for a public or private nonprofit organization.” So, from the very beginning community service has been an integral part of the program. In 2000, it was mandated that 7% of FWS funds for an institution must be used for community service positions. The CWS positions at UNH count towards that 7%.
How many hours can a student work?
This is dependent on the amount of funds the student is awarded. Most of the students in our program have $1,000-1,500 for the entire school year. Our pay rate is the same as minimum wage, $10.25 an hour, and this allows for 97 hours for students with $1,000 and 146 hours for students with $1,500. This works out to about 5-8 hours per week for the entire school year. Students may not exceed 20 hours per week while school is in session.
Do these hours need to be divided up in a specific way?
Most students work set hours every week. However, the student’s schedule can be worked out at the convenience of the student and supervisor.
Are students compensated for travel to and from their work site?
No. Compensation for travel is included in this year’s increase in hourly wage.
Can students work during University breaks?
Yes, as long as the organization is open the student can work. When school is not in session (i.e. during Winter Break) students may work up to 35 hours per week. When school is in session students can only work 20 hours per week.
How quickly can a student begin working?
Students cannot begin working before their required paperwork is filled out and turned in to the Financial Aid Office. Paperwork includes: Federal Employment Verification Form I-9, Federal W-4, Connecticut W-4, Student Work Agreement Forms, and the Student Employee Confidentiality Form. Once these forms are completed the student will receive a Work Authorization Card and can begin work.
When and where do timesheets need to be turned in?
Timesheets are due weekly to the Financial Aid Office by Monday at 9:00 am. They can be faxed (203) 931-6050 or delivered to Maxcy Hall Room 118B. Timesheets must be submitted by supervisors. We suggest submitting timesheets on Fridays to make sure they arrive on time.
What will happen during the on-site visits from the Academic Service-Learning Office?
The purpose of these visits is to make sure the student has been oriented to the organization, that they are comfortable working there, and that they have started working on their projects/tasks for the year. This visit is also a time for the organization to ask questions and provide feedback. We want to make sure there are no problems that need to be addressed, such as work place etiquette, dress code, or communication problems. A member of the ASL Office will visit the organization while the student is working and will ask to see where the student works and what they are currently working on. They will also make observations about the student, the organization, and how well they are working together.
What are the reflection sessions? Are students compensated for attending reflection sessions?
Reflection sessions provide students with an opportunity to step back and think about how their position in the CWS program is helping them on both a personal and professional level. Students will fill out a mid-semester evaluation of the program and their position. These sessions are meant to help the student grow and learn from their experience in the CWS program and to provide support to the student by giving them an opportunity to share their experience.
Are students compensated for attending reflection sessions?
No. Compensation for reflection sessions is included in this year’s increase in hourly wage.