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Off-Campus Federal Work-Study Program: What Employers Need to Know


The Off-Campus Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) enables qualified public and nonprofit organizations to employ undergraduate and graduate students at minimal cost.

Student Eligibility

FWS, a form of financial aid, provides employment opportunities to financially eligible students. Eligibility is determined by the Financial Aid Office at Rutgers University.

Eligible Off-Campus Employers

Eligible employers include nonprofits and public agencies, such as municipal agencies, county offices, state government agencies, and federal departments (other than the U.S. Department of Education).

Type of work performed under the Off-Campus Program

Work performed by students must be in the public interest, nonsectarian, and cannot involve partisan politics. In the FWS Community Service Program, students may be employed in positions that are designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, particularly low-income individuals; or to solve problems related to their needs, in such fields as:
  • health care, child care, literacy training, education, mentoring, welfare, social services, transportation, housing and neighborhood improvement, public safety, recreation, and community improvement; and

  • service opportunities or youth corps as defined in Section 101 of the National and Community Service Act of 1990; and service in the agencies, institutions, and activities designated in Section 124(a) of the National and Community Service Act of 1990.
Literacy and Math Tutoring Programs

This program provides opportunities for FWS students to serve as reading and family literacy tutors to pre-K through elementary school-age children. FWS students can also be employed as math tutors in K through ninth grade. Tutoring need not be held in a school setting; it could, for example, take place at a public library or community center. Programs may take place during the children’s school hours or after school, on weekends, or during the summer.

Off-Campus FWS Program Procedures

In order to participate, the employing organization enters into a FWS contractual agreement with Rutgers. Most of each student’s salary is paid by the federal government; the organization pays a small percentage of the student’s salary. The employer’s portion of the salary may be waived for those employers who hire reading or math tutors. All employers are responsible for FICA payments.

The contract is effective for one year. The organization has the option of signing an amendment that renews the contract for an additional year, provided that there has been compliance with all contractual requirements.

Rutgers determines that the student meets the eligibility requirements for employment under the FWS program and assigns students to work for the organization. Before beginning work, students who have been assigned to an FWS position receive an Employment Authorization Form. The organization also receives a copy of this form, which spells out how much the student is allowed to earn and other important information.

Students arrange their work schedules with their immediate supervisor. They may work a maximum of twenty hours a week during the academic year and forty hours a week during breaks and vacations.

Payment to Students

Work-study students are paid by the hour. Pay rates are determined by Rutgers and are based on the job description. Time sheets are due on a predetermined schedule. The payroll for Federal Work-Study is processed by Rutgers, and paychecks are sent directly to the student.

Under FWS regulations, students must be paid for all hours worked and may not exceed the Federal Work-Study dollar limit specified in their employment authorization. Students are not, however, paid for lunch or breaks. Student may be paid for travel time if they spend at least a half hour (one-way) commuting to their community-service job. Travel time is paid with wages and counts as earnings.

Benefits of Participating in the Program

The Off-Campus Federal Work Study Program has proven to be beneficial to both employers and students. By participating in FWS, you will be gaining a motivated and conscientious worker. In addition, you will be providing a student with an opportunity to serve the community, as well as helping them obtain valuable work experience and needed income.

Contact Information

For more information on the Off-Campus FWS Program, please contact the Student Employment Office at 848-932-8817.