Recommendations for Federal Work-Study at California Community Colleges

October 9, 2020

Share this

Title: Expanding Federal Work-Study Opportunities for California Community College Students

Authors: The Campaign for College Opportunity

Source: The Campaign for College Opportunity

A new research brief by the Campaign for College Opportunity provides insight into the opportunities and challenges of Federal Work-Study (FWS) in California’s community colleges.

According to the report, many of the state’s community college students do not receive FWS because they do not complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a requirement to determine FWS eligibility. Nationally, eight in 10 community college students work while going to class (39 percent of them work full-time). In California, less than 1 percent of the almost 2.1 million students in the community colleges receive FWS aid.

Insights from the brief include ways to better leverage the allocated FWS dollars community colleges receive from the federal government. The brief suggests that at an institutional level, financial aid offices should spend their entire FWS allocation, which may help colleges increase that allocation in subsequent years. Other strategies include outreach and partnerships with onboarding community college offices to ensure eligible students complete the FAFSA.

Further recommendations highlighted in the brief include:

  1. Revising the funding formula for campus-based programs at the federal level to prioritize institutions enrolling larger populations of students with economic need.
  2. Requiring FAFSA completion statewide across the community college system.
  3. Prioritizing students with the greatest need for FWS outreach.
  4. Using data to inform state and federal FWS policy.
  5. Building partnerships with career development agencies.
  6. Leveraging virtual FWS opportunities (ie. peer mentoring) amidst the coronavirus pandemic.

To learn more about these recommendations in detail, read the full report here.

—Ángel Gonzalez

If you have any questions or comments about this blog post, please contact us.

Keep Reading

Using Data to Support Organizational Change at Community Colleges

While community colleges can and do change on a regular basis, leaders can use specific tools to facilitate change that is more strategic. Jaime Lester looks at the role data can play in this process.

May 15, 2020

Attracting and Retaining International Students at Community Colleges: Creating a 5-Star Experience

Community colleges were never designed for students from outside the United States, nor have they been given much attention. For that reason, if community colleges would like to attract, enroll, and retain these students, they must take deliberate and specific actions to plan and provide a five-star experience.

April 27, 2020

Erasing the Community College Stigma

ACE’s Jon Turk argues that community colleges are the solution to many of the challenges we face around higher education affordability, access, and success. But how do we convince students and families of their value?

June 26, 2019