FLEXIBILITY FOR FEDERAL WORK STUDY RECIPIENTS AFFECTED BY CALIFORNIA WILDFIRES OR POWER OUTAGES

Temporary Closures Beyond the Control of an Institution - Disaster Guidance

The U.S. Department of Education issued guidance to institutions that closed as a result of the California wildfires and power outages in the Fall of 2019 allowing flexibility in paying FWS wages to students who were unable to work due to the school being closed. In a recent electronic announcement from Federal Student Aid said that although the requirements at 34 CFR 675.16 (a)(5) consider FWS wages earned when a student performs the work, affected campuses can pay students wages if the campus closure prevented them from working as long as certain conditions are met.
First, your institution must have closed as a result of either the California wildfires, or the power outages associated with them. Affected students qualify if they received a FWS award for the award period during which the institution was temporarily closed due to the wildfires and related power outages, earned FWS wages from the institution for that award period, and have been prevented from fulfilling their FWS obligation for all or part of the FWS award period because of the temporary campus closure(s) due to wildfires and related power outages. Finally, institutions that choose to implement this flexibility must also meet their federal share requirements when paying these wages.
FSA is instructing institutions to maintain documentation for any future audit or program review if they decide to use this flexibility to pay FWS wages to affected students.