Are Incarcerated Students Eligible For FWS Or FSEOG?

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This guidance is not award-year-specific and applies across award years.

Guidance under "Incarcerated students and sex offenders” in Volume 1, Chapter 6 of the FSA Handbook states that such students may be potentially eligible to receive Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) or Federal Work-Study (FWS) funds. NASFAA interprets this language as meaning incarcerated students are technically eligible for FSEOG or FWS funds, but practically it would be difficult for those students to actually receive FSEOG or to work an FWS job due to the rules governing FWS.

Guidance found on StudentAid.gov states that if the student is in a federal or state facility, the student can receive FSEOG and FWS, but probably won’t because:

The following guidelines from the FSA Handbook, Volume 6, Chapter 2, are some of the issues a school must normally consider when developing an off-campus FWS position: 

With Federal Pell Grant restoration coming in 2023, this may be an area the U.S. Department of Education (ED) focuses on at some point--that is, providing schools with more guidance on how incarcerated students might be able to access FWS funds.

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