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CSWS Resources for Community Partners

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Summer and Academic Year Programs | Student Wages | Student Eligibility | Partner Organization Eligibility | Hiring Process | Work Conditions and Restrictions | Partner Organization Responsibilities | Application Process | Resources

What is Community Service Work-Study?

Community Service Work-Study (CSWS) is a federally-supported program that provides academic year and summer employment opportunities for currently enrolled students who receive financial aid at Stanford. It allows them to combine the financial need to work with the personal goal of helping the community.

The CSWS program aims to:

  • Provide students a hands-on learning experience outside of the classroom.
  • Help students develop professional skills.
  • Encourage students to explore public service career opportunities at Stanford and beyond.
  • Provide additional capacity for nonprofit organizations and government agencies.
  • Encourage positive, reciprocal relationships between organizations and students.

If you have any questions about the CSWS program, please contact program director Yvette Zepeda.

Summer and Academic Year Programs

There are two separate CSWS programs with two separate application processes:

  • Academic Year Program: September 2022-June 2023
  • Summer 2023 Program:
    • For students not enrolled in summer classes: June 20 - Sept 15*
      • Students enrolled in any classes - check with the Financial Aid Office for eligibility.

Organizations can hire students to work part-time during the academic year while they are on campus taking classes. Stanford's Financial Aid Office will determine the maximum allowable earnings for each student depending on the student's financial aid award and will specify this amount in the student's acceptance letter.

If your organization is interested in participating in CSWS during the summer, you must apply separately from the academic year program, even if you are working with the same student. If the student continues to work for you without reapplying, you will be responsible for 100% of the student’s wages.

Student Wages

All work-study students are officially employed through Stanford University. The university pays the student, and then is reimbursed by the community partner organization (10%) and the federal government (75%). Stanford University pays the remaining 15% of the student's wages. The community organization’s contribution is paid to Stanford upon billing at the conclusion of the student’s work.

Stanford determines the pay rate for each student based on the university’s standard scale for student employee wages and taking into account previous Stanford work experience and the job requirements. The suggested minimum wage for 2022-2023 Academic Year CSWS program is in the range of $17-$18 per hour. The summer 2023 wage is set at $21.00 per hour. (New wage to be confirmed in February 2023) The rate is based on a livable wage for the Stanford and San Francisco Bay Area and is intended to help students with their tuition and education-related expenses.

Example: A student works part-time during the academic year, 10 hours per week for 20 weeks at $21.00 per hour:

Hours worked Total student wages Cost to organization
200 $4,200 $420

Reimbursement must come from the organization (not an individual), be paid to Stanford University (not directly to the student), and must be received in a timely manner upon billing. No other form of compensation (housing, travel, etc.) from the organization is acceptable in place of the wages reimbursement. Students may not deduct 10% from their salary to subsidize the host organization’s payment.

It is the responsibility of the student to print a copy of their completed online time sheet, have their supervisor sign it, and submit the signed copy of each timesheet to the CSWS office. Student work hours must be verified by the supervisor and may be subject to federal and university audits. When signing off on time sheets, supervisors should check to make sure students are not working hours in violation of program restrictions. Students may be asked to stop working if timesheets are not submitted in a timely manner.

Student Eligibility

Students are instructed to confirm their eligibility to participate in the program with the Stanford Financial Aid Office before approaching organizations. Many students who are U.S. citizens with financial aid packages from Stanford qualify. Students and their partner organizations are responsible for knowing how much money they are making and when they have reached their eligibility limit. Students must stop working their CSWS job and stop receiving federal funding once their allocation has been reached. Failure to do so will jeopardize future program participation and University federal funding. The university does not compensate any hours worked in excess of a student’s approved allocation.

Partner Organization Eligibility

Haas Center staff screen all organizations and job descriptions to confirm that they meet the program’s federal guidelines as follows:

  • The partner organization must be a U.S. federal, state or municipal public agency or private nonprofit organization as certified by the IRS. Organizations must provide a letter and federal ID number as verification of their tax-exempt status.
  • The partner organization and position must directly benefit the community beyond Stanford University. Community service is defined as services designed to improve the quality of life for community residents, particularly low-income individuals, or to solve particular problems related to their needs. Acceptable services include:
    • Health care, child care, literacy training, education (including tutoring; supporting educational and recreational activities; and counseling, including career counseling), welfare, social services, transportation, housing and neighborhood improvement, public safety, crime prevention and control, recreation, rural development and community improvement, and support services for students with disabilities.
  • Although the following jobs may be in the nonprofit sector, they are not considered in the public interest according to federal guidelines, and work-study funds may not be used to pay students employed in them:
    • Jobs that primarily benefit the members of an organization that has membership limits, such as a credit union, fraternal or religious order, labor union or cooperative
    • Jobs involving any partisan or nonpartisan political activity or association with a faction in an election for public or party office
    • Jobs working for an elected official
    • Jobs that consider the student's political affiliation for hiring purposes
    • Jobs that involve lobbying on the federal, state, or local level
  • Students may be employed in community service positions that provide either direct or indirect services to the community.
  • No international focused work is allowed through this program, even with a U.S.-based organization.
  • No research work is allowed through the program (including policy-related research at think tanks, etc.)

 Hiring Process

The Haas Center is not involved in organizations’ interview and selection processes. Organizations make their own decisions about which students they feel can make useful contributions to their organizations. Once the organization feels they have identified a student, supervisor, and position that are a good fit, authorized representatives of the community partner organization must complete the Partner Organization Application and Partner Organization Contract and submit via the appropriate Summer or Academic Year process.

Work Conditions and Restrictions

  • Students cannot exceed their maximum allowable earnings.
  • During the academic year, students cannot work more than 15 hours per week or eight hours per day.
  • Students may work eight hours per day during summer, winter, or spring breaks consistent with the university holiday schedule and other university policies.
  • When working eight hours, students are entitled to two 15-minute rest breaks and one 30- or 60-minute meal break.
  • During the summer program, students cannot work more than 40 hours per week or eight hours per day.
  • Work is not permitted on Sunday unless the student is working a non-traditional work week, which must be pre-approved by the CSWS program director.
  • Absolutely no holiday work or overtime is allowed.
  • No more than five CSWS students may work at any one organization.
  • Students paid through the university for more than one position (work-study or otherwise) may not exceed 15 hours per week during the academic year (40 hours per week during the summer) or eight hours per day for the two jobs combined.
  • Students must have an on-site supervisor who is not a family member or another student, and who provides ongoing guidance and mentorship. On-site supervision is required.
  • Timesheets must be signed by a paid employee of the partner organization or its affiliate.
  • Students supported by this program cannot displace current employees.
  • Students may not participate in another Cardinal Quarter Opportunity (such as a fellowship placement) and a CSWS job simultaneously.
  • Students may not begin working until their application packet is approved via email and they attend a mandatory program orientation.
  • Students may be terminated from the program if supervisor-signed timesheets are not submitted on a regular and timely basis.
  • During the academic year program, students may not work past June 15 without reapplying to the summer program.
  • During the summer program, students may not work past September 15 without reapplying to the academic year program.
  • Students must adhere to the university holiday schedule (e.g., Thanksgiving, winter holidays).

Partner Organization Responsibilities

A designated mentor from the organization must supervise, train, and advise the student. This person cannot be a relative of the student. The university provides some limited, general work orientation, but this does not equip students with the knowledge and skills needed to do their specific job well. Supervisors should adequately orient, train, and help students reflect upon and learn from their experiences. This can take the form of helping the student understand the big picture through exposure to organizational structure, mission, goals, and priorities, attending staff meetings, if appropriate, and learning about developments in the field.

In addition to providing appropriate supervision, organizations must:

  • Have a clearly defined project or role appropriate for a college-level student (see sample job description).
  • Agree to complete an evaluation of the student’s job performance and the overall program at the completion of the student's work.
  • Submit timely payment of their contribution toward the student’s wages and benefits upon billing. Billing generally occurs 5-6 weeks after the conclusion of the program. Organizations that fail to submit their 10% contribution to the university within a reasonable time frame (generally 30 days from invoice) will not be allowed to participate in the program in the future.
  • Retain copies of all paperwork (job descriptions, contracts, and time sheets) for their own records.
  • Comply with Stanford's non-discrimination and sexual harassment policies.

The Haas Center for Public Service reserves the right to refuse funding if the job description or the partner organization does not meet the program or federal guidelines to complete satisfaction. Organizations who participate in the program from year to year must complete the entire application (including job description and contract form) for each position every year. Organizations may work with more than one student, in which case they should submit more than one application. However, due to the high level of student interest and limited federal funding, the CSWS summer program can only support up to five students at any one organization.

Should your student be injured on the job or experience Title IX or sexual harassment exposure, please contact Yvette Zepeda at (650) 725-7407 within 24 hours. Your student is an employee of Stanford University while in the program and the university must be aware of all such events in order to provide support.

 Application Process

Students will use the SOLO platform to search and apply for opportunities and to request an application to be sent to their prospective partner organization.

  1. Organization identifies a student. Identify the particular student(s) with whom you would like to work. If an interested student has not already approached your organization, you can publicize your job opportunity to students through Stanford Career Education's Handshake job board, the Service 4 All email list, and Cardinal Quarter Connections. For further information on how to take advantage of these resources, contact Yvette Zepeda.
  2. Student obtains authorization. Your student must first obtain official authorization to participate in the program through Stanford’s Financial Aid Office.
  3. Both organization and student apply for the Summer or Academic Year program. These are two separate programs – please make sure to use the correct form. 
  4. Complete the appropriate Host Organization Application form. The student will send their supervisor a Partner Recommendation Form/Application to complete via SOLO. Application deadlines:
    • Fall quarter: Rolling
    • Winter quarter: Rolling
    • Spring quarter: Rolling
    • Summer quarter (early deadline): Early February- check SOLO application 
    • Summer quarter (final deadline): Early April - check SOLO application
  5. Complete the appropriate Partner Organization Contract. Please obtain all the appropriate signatures on the same contract and submit. The contract is downloadable and editable and does not need to be printed. Instead, download the contract and use the "Edit Text" option in the Adobe PDF application it opens in. For the Academic Year, please obtain electronic signatures and email the completed contract to When emailing, include the student's full name and the name of the partner organization in the Subject line. For  the Summer Application process, please upload the completed and signed Contract with your Recommendation/Application.
    • Academic Year Contract 2022-2023 - Link
    • Summer 2023 Contract Link
  6. Student completes required paperwork. Your student must submit a Student Application and any other forms necessary to complete the process. Work with your student to ensure their application is complete. A complete application includes your application form along with:
    • A letter verifying your 501(c)3 status that includes your federal ID number; and
    • A copy of the completed and signed Partner Organization Contract

Your student will let you know once they have completed the application process and been approved for the program. Incomplete applications will not be considered, and students must not begin work until they have received written program approval and attended a mandatory CSWS orientation.


If you have any questions about the application process or any other aspect of the program, please contact Yvette Zepeda.