Become an Off-Campus Federal Work-Study Host Site

The Off-Campus Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program, as part of the SEEDS Community Engagement (CE) Internship Program, partners with local non-profit, government, and community-based organizations (referred to as “host site” below) to set up paid positions that focus on a variety of community engagement in the local Portland community.

Since its inception, the Federal Student Aid has recommended that colleges allow students to use their FWS awards to work off-campus in community engagement positions. In 1994, the government amended the work-study legislation to require that schools spend 5% of their total allocation on community service positions. This allocation increased to 7% in 2000–01. While some schools require off-campus employers to pay up to 25% of FWS student wages, Reed continues to pay off-campus FWS community engagement interns’ wages and worker’s compensation insurance in full.

Reed College pays FWS-eligible students $16.45 per hour for work completed at SEEDS community partner FWS-approved organizations in the 2023-2024 academic year. SEEDS’s partnership with local host sites creates mutually beneficial relationships for students to connect with the local Portland community and for host sites to receive support in their mission.

Basic Requirements for Off-Campus FWS Host Sites & Positions 

  • Off-campus FWS positions must be hosted by a local non-profit, government, or community-based organization (host site).
  • The host site must sign a contract with SEEDS (Reed College) before the position is posted and filled.
  • The host site must have a supervisor that will oversee the position and certified timesheets.
  • Follow requirements under “FWS Conditions & Limitations of Employment” in the most updated version of the Federal Student Aid Handbook.  Here are some highlighted guidelines, SEEDS will review federal guidelines in detail with potential host sites:
    • Off-campus FWS positions must not displace employees (including those on strike) or impair existing service contracts.
    • Off-campus FWS positions must not involve construction, operating, or maintaining any part of a building used for religious worship or sectarian instruction.
    • A student may earn academic credit as well as compensation for off-campus FWS jobs.
    • Students are not permitted to work in off-campus FWS positions during scheduled class times
    • Off-campus FWS positions are designed to provide part-time employment, and students should not often work in excess of 40 hours in a single week (Note: most FWS awards are enough for around 5 hours per week).
    • Off-campus FWS positions must provide services that are designed to improve the quality of life for community residents or to solve particular problems related to these residents’ needs.
    • Off-campus FWS positions must be in the public interest, it is not “in the public interest” if it:
      • primarily benefits the members of an organization that has membership limits, such as a credit union, a fraternal or religious order, or a cooperative;
      • involves any political activity or is associated with a faction in an election for public or party office;
      • is for an elected official unless the official is responsible for the regular administration of the routine operation of federal, state, or local government;
      • is work as a political aide for any elected official;
      • takes into account a student’s political support or party affiliation in hiring him or her; or
      • involves lobbying on the federal, state, or local level.

Partnership Process for Host Sites 

Step 1: Establishing Interest

  • SEEDS will reach out to potential local host sites with detailed information to see if host sites are interested in setting up off-campus FWS positions.
  • If potential host sites are interested in setting up off-campus FWS positions with SEEDS, they can fill out the Off-Campus FWS Host Site Interest Form.

Step 2: Confirming Partnership

  • SEEDS will contact potential host sites with guidance to set up off-campus FWS positions and finalize job descriptions.

Step 3: Sign Federal Work-Study Agreement & Signature Authorization Form

  • A host site must sign the Federal Work-Study Agreement and Signature Authorization Form sent by SEEDS to finalize the partnership.

Step 4: Position Posted on Handshake

  • SEEDS will post off-campus FWS positions on Reed’s Handshake, applicants are instructed to apply via SEEDS’s Off-Campus FWS Application, applications will close on March 8, 2024.
  • Applications are not guaranteed, positions may be filled at different times throughout the academic year or not filled at all.

Step 5: Evaluation Process

  • SEEDS will send host sites application packages until the position is filled. 
  • Host sites may invite applicants to interview or request additional information by contacting the applicants directly.

Step 6: Hiring Decisions

  • Host sites should inform SEEDS once a hiring decision is made so SEEDS can proceed with setting up payroll and other next steps to hire the students.

Step 7: Employment Begin

  • Once employment begins, host sites are responsible for certifying timesheets and maintaining communication with the students and SEEDS regarding any updates and/or issues with the partnership.

Off-Campus FWS Host Site Interest Form

If you have any questions or wish to set up a meeting to chat more, please email