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New Federal Experiment on Private-Sector Work-Study

February 20, 2020
 
 

The U.S. Department of Education has granted waivers on federal aid rules to 190 institutions under a new initiative aimed at allowing more students to get work-study jobs in their field of study in the private sector, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced Wednesday.

More than 3,000 colleges and universities provided over 600,000 students with Federal Work-Study opportunities during award year 2016-17, the department said in a news release. But less than one-tenth of 1 percent involved off-campus employment with private-sector employers.

The initiative, known as an experimental site, will allow the group of institutions to pay low-income students for work experiences required by their academic programs, such as student teaching and clinical rotations. The initiative is aimed at gathering more data to see if students are better served by being able to get work-study experience off-campus related to their field of study, the department said.

“For too long, Federal Work-Study has put up artificial barriers between education and industry and deprived students from gaining useful experience in their field of study,” DeVos said in the release. “Rather than working the dorm cafeteria line, students -- particularly low-income students -- will be able to ‘earn and learn’ in ways that will set them up for future success.”

The initiative also provides additional funds and expands the allowable use of the money to let institutions work with third-party intermediaries to help build partnerships with businesses.

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