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Public Service Work Study Program

American University partners with eligible nonprofit organizations and government agencies to employ talented college students, who, in turn, provide support and direct services to community members in need.


501(c)(3) organizations and federal, state, and local government agencies whose mission is to serve the public good may participate in this program.

Partner organizations may recruit students for positions designed to improve individuals' quality of life or to resolve community issues. Common functional areas include education, social services, health care, community improvement, and public safety, among others. Job functions that do
not qualify for this program include:

  • Services to organizations that have membership limits (e.g., credit unions and fraternal or religious orders) if the work to be performed primarily benefits the members

  • Partisan or nonpartisan political or election activity for a public or party office
  • Services to an elected official unless the official is responsible for the regular administration of a federal, state, or local government program
  • Support as a political aide to an elected official
  • Lobbying or advocacy work at the federal, state, or local level

Students awarded Federal Work Study (FWS) as part of their financial aid packages may apply for employment through this program.

Cost Sharing

American University covers 75 percent of students' wages and partner organizations cover the remaining 25 percent.

Organizations receive invoices for their 25 percent share at the end of the fall, spring, and summer terms and pay an average of $500 per student during the academic year and $1200 per student during the summer. Actual totals vary according to students' hourly rates and hours worked per week.