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CSWS Resources for Community Partners

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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 26, 2023–June 14, 2024
  • Summer 2024 Program: July 1, 2024 - September 13, 2024.
    • 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 bi-weekly. The Community Partner no longer contributes financially to student wages. The wages are covered by the University, the federal government, and the Haas Center for Public Service.

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-related work experience and the job requirements. The suggested minimum wage for the 2023-24 Academic Year CSWS program is in the range of $18–$18.75 per hour. The summer 2024 wage is set at $22.00 per hour, confirmed in February 2024. The rate is based on a livable wage for the San Francisco Bay Area and is intended to help students with their tuition and education-related expenses.


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 and accurate manner.

Student employees must take two duty-free, 15-minute rest breaks per every four hours of work. Student employees must be provided with an unpaid meal period of at least 30 minutes after no more than five hours of work. These breaks should be reflected on the student's timesheet.

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 earn and when they have reached their eligibility limit. Students must stop working their CSWS job, stop logging hours, and stop receiving federal funding once their allocation maximum has been reached. Failure to do so will jeopardize future program participation and University federal funding. Students may not be compensated for any hours worked in excess of a student’s approved allocation.

Note: CSWS participants may be paid by only one Stanford funding source for hours worked at the same job. Receiving funding from two Stanford sources for the same work will result in automatic termination from the program and return of the non-CSWS funding.

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 (no proselytizing)
    • 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.) 

    *Not mean't to be an all-inclusive list)


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, the authorized representatives of the community partner organization must work with the student to complete the Community Partner Organization Application and Partner Organization Contract and submit online 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. Students may not work during Winter or Thanksgiving break.
  • 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.
  • Sunday is considered a rest day. Work is not permitted on Sunday. Any non-traditional schedule or work week must be requested in writing and pre-approved in writing by the CSWS program director prior to work commencement.
  • Absolutely no holiday work is permitted.
  •  Absolutely no overtime work is permitted.
  • 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. Regularly scheduled and consistent 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 a supervisor evaluation of the student’s job performance and the overall program at the completion of the student's work.
  • 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 CSWS 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 – the student will need to make sure to use the correct application in SOLO.
  4. Complete the Community Partner Organization Recommendation Form/Application form online. The student will initiate this process through SOLO.Application deadlines:
    • Fall quarter: Friday, November 11, 2023
    • Winter quarter: Friday, February 16, 2024
    • Spring quarter: Friday, April 26, 2024
    • Summer quarter (early deadline): Friday, February 16, 2024 – application available in January 2024
    • Summer quarter (final deadline): Friday, April 12, 2024 – application available in January 2024
  5. Complete the appropriate Partner Organization Contract. The contract is downloadable and editable and does not need to be printed. Use the "Edit Text" option in the Adobe PDF application. Please obtain all the required signatures on the same contract and submit through SOLO with your Recommendation/Application.
  6. Student completes required materials. 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 Community 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.