While no tuition is charged for FWT, students are responsible for meeting their own expenses during this term. The cost of FWT will vary greatly depending on the student’s job and housing arrangements. If you will need to pay for housing, food, and transportation on your own for FWT, you should budget at least $2,000–$3,000, plus the cost of travel to and from your site. Obviously, if you will be provided housing, food, or transportation, this cost will be reduced significantly. It is important to create a budget and to plan accordingly for FWT. See the FWT Budgeting Form.
The FWT & CDO awarded approximately $25,000 in grant money to assist with FWT expenses last year. Awards are generally around $500 and range from $200-$1,000, but vary depending on the financial need and number of qualified applicants. The FWT & CDO also has special grants available for students doing work in Public Action. Students may apply for the TELOS Public Action Grant, with awards up to $2,500 per student. Application details are available on WorkLink. The deadline to apply for either kind of grant is October 16.
Application forms and information describing available grants are online in the document library of WorkLink. A potential FWT arrangement is required in order to apply for a grant. Applications involve estimating your FWT expenses, contributions, and financial needs during the FWT. Additionally, one faculty recommendation is required (for TELOS this must be your advisor). A committee of College administrators selects grant recipients. If you receive an FWT grant and do not complete the job for which the grant was awarded or leave the College, the funds must be repaid to Bennington. Grants are extremely competitive and not guaranteed.
Students completing an Independent Study (IS) may apply for an FWT grant. Applicants should clearly demonstrate the importance of the IS project to their Plans, and the expenses must be well justified. For example, a student writing her/his book in southern Italy because it is more inspirational than her/his home in western Ohio would not be as strong a candidate as someone who must be in Italy in order to interview people for an anthropological project. If a student will need help financing an IS s/ he may also want to explore independent grants using a resource such as the Foundation Center. They have an excellent tutorial designed to guide grant seekers through the process. It is best to start planning to fund an IS early (the year prior is recommended), since many outside grants have very early deadlines and can be quite competitive.
Students who are applying to defer their FWT to the summer and anticipate that they will need grant money should apply in the fall. Should a student receive a grant for summer but then change her/his plans, the grant will be re-evaluated. However, since we do not know how many students will receive an approved deferral in any given year, nor how many of those will need funding, we do not withhold funding from the fall grant cycle in anticipation of summer.
There are a limited number of FWT opportunities that pay a regular wage, offer a stipend, or provide room and/or board. You can search for these on WorkLink by applying a search filter that only lists positions with remuneration. To earn extra money, many students take a part-time job during FWT that may not be connected to their Plan. A student may count some of the hours worked at such a position (up to 50 hours in 2014) toward her/his FWT hours requirement, and these are considered supplemental hours. However, at least 140 primary hours must be in a field experience that makes sense given educational goals whether or not it is paid. See the FWT Handbook for details on how to document supplemental hours.