The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Community Service and Work-Study

Students that have been awarded Federal Work-Study (FWS) may obtain positions at authorized off-campus agencies.  Financial Aid partners with more than 100 community service organizations to provide community service opportunities to work-study students.  Students that work in these programs are able to do work that enriches the community while developing important professional skills.  

Employers participating in the Off-Campus FWS program at UMass Amherst:

  • will provide opportunities for students to engage in meaningful community service functions, with preference given to positions involving direct service
  • are committed to a long-term relationship with UMass Amherst to provide student employment opportunities
  • will provide opportunities for students to work in positions with strong supervisory/mentoring relationships
  • understand and are willing to work within the constraints created by the flexible scheduling needs of students
  • understand that FWS eligibility is based on a student's need, not on skills or talent, and are willing to assist less qualified individuals gain the necessary skills needed 

For a listing of active UMass Amherst Community Service agencies, click here.

Hiring and Payroll Guidelines for Community Service Agencies

Your agency will not be eligible to hire and begin paying a UMass Amherst student under the Off-Campus FWS program until we have an approved contract on file with your organization.  Per the contractual agreement, UMass Amherst acts as the employer and Student Employment determines if the student meets the eligibility requirements for employment under the Federal Work-Study program. UMass Amherst will be responsible for paying students, on an hourly basis, under its normal payroll system.

Note: If a student begins working prior to UMass Amherst approval, your agency will assume responsibility for 100% of the student's compensation. In this situation the student will need to be placed on your agency's payroll and paid for all hours worked prior to the start date approved by the SEO.

As a hiring agency under the FWS program, you must submit signed weekly time sheets (provided to you by Student Employment) to authorize time worked. Signed time sheets may be emailed or faxed to Student Employment,, 413-545-1722, even if the time reported is zero for the week.  Original signed time sheets should be mailed to Student Employment at the end of the semester.

Students are to be paid only for hours actually worked and are not to be paid for break-time, meal periods, holidays, vacation, sick time, etc. The Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, as amended, prohibits employers (and agencies) from accepting voluntary service from any paid employee. Any student employed through the FWS program must be paid for all hours worked.

Your agency will be billed on a monthly basis from the UMass Amherst Controllers Office for your share of the total wages earned by each approved UMass Amherst student employee for the prior month. Your share will be based on the Off-Campus Federal Work-Study category under which your agency qualifies, as outlined in the contract. This category will be determined based on your organizational information.

Work-Study Limitations

In accordance with the requirements of federal programs, work to be performed under Off-Campus FWS agreements:

  • must be either related to the student's educational objectives or in the public interest
  • must be governed by employment conditions, including pay, that are reasonable according to the type of work performed, the geographic region, the employee's proficiency, and any applicable federal, state, or local law
  • must not displace employees or impair existing service contracts (replacement is interpreted as displacement)
  • must not involve constructing, operating, or maintaining any part of a building used for religious worship or sectarian instruction
  • must not solicit, accept, or permit soliciting any fee, commission, contribution, or gift as a condition of the student's FWS employment (union dues excluded if paid by all employees)

Further, no work shall be considered in the public interest where:

  • it primarily benefits the members of an organization that has membership limitations
  • it involves any partisan or nonpartisan political activity or is associated with a faction in an election for public or party office
  • it is work for an elected official unless the official is responsible for the regular administration of federal, state, or local government
  • it is work as a political aide for any elected official
  • a student's political support or party affiliation is taken into account in hiring him or her
  • it involves lobbying on a federal, state, or local level

If you believe your agency qualifies, and you would like to hire a Federal Work-Study student, please see the Agency Registration page.