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Community Based Federal Work Study Program

The Community Based Federal Work Study Program is sponsored by the Gordon College Office of Service Learning to enable Gordon College Federal Work-Study eligible students to work for nonprofit organizations, schools, and municipalities in the local region. 

We focus on working with regional non-profit organizations working on education and college-readiness.  However, we continue to expand into new areas including the arts, education, environmental programs, health services, programs for the elderly, women's organizations, and youth programs.

Each year nearly 50 students are placed in work-study positions in the local community. 


The U.S. Department of Education, which governs the Federal Work Study program (FWS), stipulates that colleges and universities must make students aware of community service opportunities by encouraging them to get involved in community service activities.  The college is required to use a portion of its FWS allocation to employ students in community service jobs. Employing FWS students in these positions serves the needs of the community and gives the students an enriching and rewarding experience. 

To further encourage schools and other eligible organizations to employ FWS students the America Reads Challenge and America Counts Challenge (ARC/C) programs were created, through which FWS funds 100% of the students' wages. 

How Are "Community Services" Defined?

  • Community Service is defined as improving the quality of life for community residents, particularly low-income individuals, or to solve particular problems related to their needs. Fields related to health, literacy training, education, welfare, social services, transportation, housing and neighborhood improvement, public safety, rural development, and community improvement
  • A student does not have to provide a “direct” service. The student must provide services that are designed to improve the quality of life for community residents or to solve particular problems related to those residents’ needs
  • Work done must benefit communities within the continental United States
  • A university or college is not considered a community for the purposes of the FWS community service requirements. On-campus jobs can meet the definition of community services, provided the work is designed to improve the quality of life for off-campus community residents or to solve problems related to their needs

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