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Federal Work Study Opportunity for Clinical Practice

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The U.S. Department of Education launched an Experimental Sites Initiative focused on the Federal Work Study (FWS) program. FWS is a need-based federal program that provides part-time jobs to students to supplement the financial assistance received from the Federal Pell Grant program and other aid sources. The Experimental Site Initiative for FWS waives several of the statutory and regulatory provisions, including that which would limit the number of hours a student could work, permitting full-time opportunities. 

As described by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Federal Student Aid Experimental Sites Initiative:

This experiment aims to determine whether, by reducing the difficulty to institutions of paying FWS wages to students employed by private-sector companies, increasing the number of hours an FWS student is permitted to work, and removing restrictions on allocations to on-campus, off-campus, and community service jobs, institutions can cultivate additional private-sector opportunities for employment of FWS students. In addition, the experiment aims to determine whether off-campus, private-sector FWS jobs improve student completion rates, reduce student borrowing, reduce time to degree completion, or lead to improved employment outcomes.

This opportunity opens the door to work with your institution’s financial aid office, and specifically the person or team handling the Federal Work Study program, and apply to be an experimental site and use these funds to support students with financial need in their clinical practice (which is referred to as “student teaching” in the Federal Register notice). In addition, as you consider opportunities for part-time clinical practice for students enrolled in your (teacher? education?) programs, traditional Federal Work Study might be a good way to support those teacher candidates with financial need.

The deadline to apply to participate in the Experimental Site opportunity has been extended to September 23, 2019.

Resources to support you in your outreach with your financial aid office to apply for this opportunity:

U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid Training for the FWS webinar: recording, slides, and transcript.

You can email the team at the Experimental Sites Initiative at ExperimentalSites@ed.gov .

Details on what is needed in the application can be found in the notice in the Federal Register.


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Deborah Koolbeck

Senior Director of Government Relations, AACTE