This guidance is not award-year-specific and applies across award years.
This AskRegs Knowledgebase Q&A was updated on April 12, 2023 to note that the general COVID-19 national emergency ended on April 10, 2023, while the separate public health emergency ends on May 11, 2023. With the introduction of two separate emergency end dates, it is now unclear which date is to be used for the expiration of the COVID-19 flexibility/waiver discussed below. See AskRegs Q&A, When Do the Various Title IV COVID-19 Flexibilities and Waivers End?
Yes. According to the December 11, 2020 Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) will not be issuing waivers through the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System, but they will be administratively granted to all FWS-participating schools for at least the 2019-20 and 2020-21 award years. The Federal Register reads (emphasis added):
“The Secretary is waiving the Federal Work-Study (FWS) community service requirements in § 675.18(g) for all FWS participating schools for at least the 2019–20 and 2020–21 award years. Schools do not need to apply for the waiver for either award year. The Department will administratively grant waivers to all schools. This waiver expires at the end of the award year that begins after the date on which the Federally-declared national emergency related to COVID–19 is rescinded.”
The waiver is automatic according to this text from the FISAP Instructions: "For the 2021–22 award year, the FWS community service requirements described in this Section have been waived for all participating schools due to the impacts of COVID-19. Schools are not required to apply for a waiver in the event that they did not meet any of the requirements– the waiver will be extended to all schools automatically. Please refer to the Electronic Announcement posted on January 15, 2021 for more information." Check Part V, Section G of the 2022-23 and 2023-24 FISAP Instructions for similar guidance when they become available on the FSA Knowledge Center.
As previously stated in the April 23, 2020, Electronic Announcement:
"FWS Community Service Expenditure Requirements
A school that participates in the FWS Program is required to expend at least seven percent (7%) of its FWS federal allocation to pay the federal share of wages to students employed in community service jobs in an award year. A school is also expected to provide the institutional share of wages to students employed in community service jobs. In addition, one or more of the school’s FWS students must be employed as a reading tutor for children in a reading tutoring project or performing family literacy activities in a family literacy project. 34 CFR 675.18(g)(1).
To reduce the burden on schools, and in recognition that some community service employment opportunities may be disrupted due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we intend to exercise our authority under the HEROES Act to grant a waiver of the FWS community service requirements described above to all FWS-participating schools for the 2019–20 and 2020–21 award years. A notice to that effect will be forthcoming in the Federal Register. No action needs to be initiated by schools in order to request the waiver for either award year. Whether or not a school applied for the waiver by the stated deadline, or previously applied for a waiver and was denied, is immaterial. Waivers will not be issued to all schools through the Common Origination and Disbursement (COD) System, but will be administratively granted to all schools."
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