What Every Employer/Organization Needs to Know About the Federal Community Service Program

What is the Federal Community Service Program (FCSP)?
The FCSP is a community service program involving students with financial need. Students have the opportunity to work off-campus (and in one case, on campus) in a non-profit organization and earn their work study money at the top of the pay scale. Drew undergraduate, graduate, and theological students can actively participate in service experiences that meet real community needs. Also, undergraduate students may qualify to earn up to eight (8) credits under the Academic Internship Program, while being paid an hourly wage.

What are the benefits of participating in the program?
By hiring a student from our University, you will be gaining an intelligent and enthusiastic worker. You will also be encouraging students, who are receiving Federal student financial assistance, to participate in community service activities that help them develop a broader social perspective. Depending on the work being performed, the student’s wages will typically cost only $2.15 per hour or nothing. There is no limit to the number of students you are allowed to hire.

What type of work can students perform under the Federal Community Service Program?
The work students perform in the community must be for the benefit of the national or community welfare. Ideally, it will also complement the educational program or vocational goals of the student. (See below for selected list of participating organizations)

How is community service defined?
Community service is defined as services designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, particularly low-income individuals or to solve particular problems related to their needs. Services include:

  • child care
  • education/tutoring
  • health care
  • housing
  • community improvement
  • mentoring
  • crime prevention
  • welfare
  • public safety
  • rural development
  • library services

How do students know if they are eligible?
The Drew University Office of Financial Assistance determines if students are eligible to work under the Federal Community Service Program. If you hire a student to work under this program, they must contact the office first to verify eligibility before a working schedule is established. Eligibility is generally reviewed on an annual basis.

How does the Program Work?
The community agency must first complete some paperwork to become an approved work site which includes a  TUTOR Contract or a NON-Tutor ContractEmployment Information Sheet and Signature Authorization Form. An official from the agency enters into a formal agreement with Drew University that allows students to work over the course of the academic year and sometimes during a specific period of time. Federal regulations state that students may not work more than twenty (20) hours per week during the academic year or forty (40) hours per week during breaks and vacations. The agency must also provide information about each position it would like students to apply for in an Employment Information Sheet. The Signature Authorization Form is used to verify official signatures on the time sheets that students submit for pay bi-weekly.

The Federal Community Service Office will advertise all open positions for you, once your community agency is approved as a work site and the contract is signed. Students apply to your agency directly by reviewing the descriptions (based upon your Employment Information Sheet) as posted on our online database, DrewLink. Your interview and application process should help you determine the best candidate for the job. Although the FCSP Office assists the students in the job search, the final hiring decision is made by the community agency. After the Office of Financial Assistance determines a student’s eligibility, a work schedule can be established and the student can begin working.

It is important that job responsibilities and weekly schedules are discussed with the student before the job begins. Please note that students may not work more than twenty (20) hours per week during the academic year or forty (40) hours per week during breaks and vacations.

How are students paid?
The hourly pay rate is determined by the Office of Financial Assistance. In most cases, a NON-Tutor Contract must be submitted to the FCSP Office which indicates that seventy-five percent (75%) of the student’s earnings are paid by the Federal Government, while the community agency pays twenty-five percent (25%). Timesheets are provided to the student by the FCSP Office and the University will pay students on a bi-weekly basis. Timesheets must be completed by the student and signed by the on-the-job supervisor. Checks are written to the student and delivered to them directly from payroll. The University will bill the community agency for its contribution to the student’s hourly wage at the end of each semester.

Students hired to work as tutors or to participate in tutor training will have one hundred percent (100%) of their hourly wage paid directly from work study grant money. A TUTOR Contract must first be signed and submitted to the FCSP Office. Along with the contract, there must be an employment information sheet on file which describes the type of tutoring needed. The Signature Authorization Form is also required. Bi-weekly time sheets must still be submitted, but the community agency will not be billed for any portion of the student’s wages.

For additional information, please contact:
William Hinman, Coordinator for Internships & FCSP
Sycamore Cottage, 1st Floor
Phone: (973) 408-3566
fax: (973) 408-3535

What Every Student Needs to Know About the Federal Community Service Program

What is the Federal Community Service Program (FCSP)?
The FCSP is a community service program for students with financial need. Students have the opportunity to work on or near campus in a nonprofit organization and earn their work study money at the top of the pay scale. Undergraduate, graduate, and theological students who are work-study qualified can actively participate in service experiences that meet real community needs. Also, undergraduate students can possibly earn up to eight (8) credits under the Academic Internship Program in addition to being paid through their work study funds. (see below or download our FCSP FAQs)

How do I know if I am eligible?
The Office of Financial Assistance determines your eligibility. Students demonstrating financial need and receiving Federal Work Study funds have generally been eligible. Check with them first if you are unsure of your status.

How does the Program work?
The Program requires that the work you perform must be for the benefit of the community or national welfare and, when possible, complement your educational program or vocational goals. A list of approved agencies is available for student review in the FCSP office. New sites may be approved and added to the list at any time, if you would like to have the Coordinator consider an agency that is not currently listed.

How is community service defined?
Community service is defined as services designed to improve the quality of life for community residents particularly low-income individuals or to solve special problems related to their needs:

  • child care
  • education/tutoring
  • health care
  • housing
  • community improvement
  • mentoring
  • crime prevention
  • welfare
  • public safety
  • rural development

How can I get a job through the Federal Community Service Program?
First, complete the FAFSA and Drew University supplement forms available in the Office of Financial Assistance. Then, contact your financial aid counselor to determine if you are eligible for the program. If you are eligible, you may proceed to the next steps below. If not, you cannot participate.

Second, select a community agency position from the approved list (see below) advertised on DrewLink or stop by the FCSP Office in Sycamore Cottage, 1st Floor for more information.

Third, contact the community agency to find out about their hiring process and ask for an interview. Make sure to tell them you are work-study qualified.  You may apply to as many openings as interest you.

Finally, after you have been offered a position, complete all required eligibility paperwork in the FCSP Office located in Sycamore Cottage, 1st Floor.

How can I get academic credit from the Academic Internship Program while participating in the FCSP?
If the position with the community agency meets the guidelines of the Academic Internship Program, undergraduates may receive academic credit while earning an hourly wage through the FCSP.  Contact the Internships/FCSP Office for more details. In general, to receive academic credit:

  • Have the position approved by the Internship Coordinator and complete a Student Learning Contract and Student Signature Form
  • Register for the internship according to special registration deadlines
  • Work a minimum of 70 hours (for 2 credits) or a minimum of 140 hours (for 4 credits)
  • Write an academic research and reflective paper: 8 pages (for 2 credits) or 12 pages (for 4 credits), with the help of a Drew faculty member.
  • Write two journal entries (2-3 pages each) during your internship
  • Be evaluated by the on-the-job supervisor

What is the process for submitting my hours?
You must submit your hours in two forms by 10:00 a.m. each payday: an original, signed time sheet needs to be dropped off/delivered to the FCSP Office (Sycamore Cottage), and your hours must also be submitted online using the “FedComSvc” tab.

The time sheet must include the signature of the authorized job supervisor.  Remember: both the original, signed time sheet and online submission of your hours are required in order for you to get paid.

What else do I need to know?
Students need to be cleared each year by the Office of Financial Assistance, even if you worked the previous year under FCSP. Please come to the FCSP office to re-establish eligibility on an annual basis.

The hourly wage you receive is determined by the Office of Financial Assistance, but is at the top of the work-study payscale. The University will issue paychecks on a biweekly basis. Student hours are limited to twenty hours/week during the academic year or 40 hours/week during breaks and vacations.

Remember, to avoid any misunderstandings, it is important that you discuss your job responsibilities and weekly schedule with your supervisor before you begin your job. Have more questions? Download our FCSP FAQs!

For additional information, please contact:
William Hinman, Coordinator for Internships & FCSP
Sycamore Cottage, 1st Floor
bhinman@drew.edu or (973) 408-3566

 

Selected Listing of Participating Organizations

Acorn Academy, Madison
Students assist teachers in number and letter recognition, reading and math basics and other early childhood learning activities.

Chatham United Methodist Church, Chatham
Students provide childcare to infants and young children in nursery during 2 morning worship services every Sunday from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm.

EPOCH (Educational Programs of Children Handicapped), Madison
EPOCH is an afterschool recreation and enrichment program serving developmentally disabled children ages 8 to 12. Activities run from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m., Tuesday and Thursday, at the Madison YMCA.

Family Promise, Summit
Family Promise provides shelter, meals, assistance and compassion to homeless families throughout the country through Network programs that involve 70,000 volunteers.

Franciscan Community Development Center of Fairview
Located on the grounds of Saint John the Baptist Church in Fairview, New Jersey, the Franciscan Community Development Center of Fairview is a non-denominational, Christian-based, Pro-life organization based on the Gospel principles of love, understanding, compassion and repentance.  The Center provides essential services to the poor, the underprivileged, immigrants, women, children and seniors.

F.M. Kirby Children’s Center, Madison
Child care for children 6 weeks to 12 years old. A program of the Madison YMCA.

Macculloch Hall Historical Museum, Morristown
Museum offers changing exhibits on a variety of art and historical topics, house tours for the general public and school tours. A calendar of special events including music, theater, lectures and demonstrations is available to the public each year.

Mendham Borough Library, Mendham
Help in the reference, circulation and other departments of the Mendham, NJ library.

Mental Health Association of Morris County, Madison
Mental health education, advocacy service, case management, increased socialization, and outreach to people with mental illness. Also support groups.

Museum of Early Trades and Crafts, Madison
Museum preserves and interprets life in the American home and workplace in the eighteenth and nineteenth-century through its collection of tools and handcrafted products. The Museum offers educational programs and exhibitions for persons of all ages.

Morristown Neighborhood House, Morristown
Helps new immigrants and famies who are confronting economic challenges and fostering cross cultural acceptance.

Newark Collegiate Academy Tutoring Program
Tutors needed to helpful staff and provide academic support for students in grades 9 through 11 in English, Math, History, Science, HSPA prep program and SAT/ACT.

Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey, Madison
A community of professional playwrights, theatre artists and art educators that provide opportunities for writers to develop their works in a nurturing environment and connect with new audiences. Professional productions and readings of new plays and works-in-progress. NJ Writers Project provides in-school creative writing residencies throughout 21 counties and teaches 17,000 students each year.

The Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey, Madison
Great Classical Theatre and education program geared towards teaching acting skills to young people. Touring education group performs at senior citizen homes and schools.

The United Methodist Church (SCEEP), Madison
Coordinate or tutoring in after school program for elementary school aged inner city youth.

The Urban League of Morris County, Inc., Morristown, NJ
Students needed to assist staff by providing programmatic assistance for non-profit agency that works with African Americans and other minorities to secure economic self-reliance, parity and civil rights in the community.

YMCA of Madison, Madison
General service YMCA provides resources to members of the community of all ages, educational seminars, and motivation for healthy lifestyles.