Field Work Term Funding
The cost of Field Work Term (FWT) varies greatly depending on the job you select and the housing arrangements you make. Costs can range from nominal to $3,000 or more if you need to travel a long distance and pay for your own housing and food. FWT is a separate term from the rest of the academic year. As a result, tuition is not charged for it, and regular academic scholarships do not apply; students are responsible for meeting their own expenses during this period. Use the FWT Budgeting Form to help you plan accordingly.
Some students may reduce housing costs by staying with relatives in other parts of the country, with family or friends of other students, or sharing housing with students who plan to work in the same city. Employers may also be able to offer leads for local low cost housing. See FWT Housing for more ideas. Here are five options to make your FWT more financially feasible:
1. Find Paid Field Work Term Positions
Handshake makes it easy to find paid FWT listings. On the “Jobs” page, filter your search by Co-Op positions to find FWT-specific listings, and click “Paid roles only.”
With Handshake, students can also search among hundreds of summer internship opportunities from employers across the globe, over half of which are paid. Some of these internships could be proposed as Field Work Term options; check with the FWT Office as early as possible to ensure a position is FWT-eligible. Consider booking a "Handshake help" appointment with the FWT staff for help to find paid FWT options.
2. Combine Paid and Unpaid Work
To earn extra money, you can take a part-time job during FWT that isn't connected to your Plan. You are able to use up to 60 hours at such a position towards your 200-hour requirement. These are considered supplemental hours. (See FWT Requirements for details on how to document supplemental hours).
3. Secure a Private Loan
Understanding that FWT costs vary year to year, students may face a gap between available funds and FWT costs. Students may wish to consider applying for a private loan in the term preceding their FWT.
The College has created a list of historically used lenders using an external website to review, compare products and apply for private loans. Students can research lending options at ElmSelect to review the lender rates, terms, and services that are right for them.
Students are encouraged to make an appointment with Financial Aid to discuss this option.
4. Apply for a Research Grant or Fellowship
Students who have completed at least one FWT have the option of doing Independent Study work (non-credit research or applied field work), supervised by a faculty sponsor. Faculty are not paid to sponsor FWT Independent Study work and are not required to do so. However, some research and applied work may be eligible for private funding through external grants and fellowships.
Returning students are also eligible to apply for several specialized Field Work Term fellowships. In addition to funding, these fellowships offer mentorship and the opportunity to be part of a cohort of students working in specific focus areas. Fellowships are open to returning students (sophomores through seniors) who meet a minimum need threshold and demonstrate strong merit in their applications. Awards typically range from $1,000-$3,000.
Current Field Work Term Fellowships are as follows:
- The Lucille Lortel Theatre Foundation Fellowship
- The Endeavor Foundation Environmental Action Fellowship
- The Food Insecurity & Population Health Fellowship
- The Newman and Cox Public Action Student Fellowship
- The Iftekhar Entrepreneurial Fellowship
5. Obtain a Partial Need-Based Stipend
Students with high financial need (as determined by Financial Aid) will be notified in early October about their eligibility for a $500 FWT stipend to offset costs associated with their field work term. FWT internship.
6. Stipend and Fellowship Checks
FWT $500 Stipend Checks will be issued to all financial aid eligible students the first week of November.
If you are awarded a fellowship, you must register your FWT by November 4 (winter) or April 28 (summer) to receive your fellowship award check.
Approval: Once your site is approved by both the FWT office and your employer, the check request process begins. This is usually 5-7 days, but longer if your employer response is delayed or there are concerns with your registration. Please be in touch with your supervisor about approving this experience for you.
Check Disbursement: Once approved, students will be notified when the check is ready to be picked up, usually within 5-7 business days.
Check Pick-up: All checks will be sent to the Campus Post Office for pick-up.
FWT Late Approvals: Expect a significant delay in receiving your fellowship check if you fail to meet the registration deadline. Checks will be mailed to your address in Populi. If you need it mailed to a different address please notify FWT immediately.
Frequently Asked Funding Questions
If I register a paid position, do I lose my $500 stipend?
No, starting in the Fall of 2022 students will be allowed to keep their $500 need-based stipend in addition to any other funding provided by the College, including Fellowship awards. It is up to students to administer these funds correctly and complete any required documentation. For help drafting your budget, schedule an appointment with our office.
What counts as a paid position? For example, if my employer provides a transportation stipend, is this considered paid?
Paid positions are those that pay either through a stipend or through hourly wages the equivalent of minimum wage for 200 hours. To determine eligibility, we consider each student's anticipated pay from employers as detailed on the FWT registration form in Handshake. Therefore, if a student reports a transportation stipend or another form of partial assistance, this would not be considered paid.
Is independent study work eligible for stipends or fellowships?
Yes. Similar to FWT positions, if approved independent study work is unpaid and unfunded, need-eligible students will receive FWT stipends. However, because some independent study work can be completed at home, students will be asked to specify why they need to complete their work in a certain location and to fill out a FWT budgeting form as part of the registration process.
What qualifies as high need?
To understand their financial need ranking in context, students are encouraged to direct inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org. In broad terms, high need students receive aid packages of $50,000 or more per year.