Schools reminded about meeting voter registration requirements along with use of work study funds
April 21, 2022
Federal elections may be several months away, but postsecondary institutions are being reminded about their requirement to distribute voter registration forms and guidelines for using for federal work study funds for those efforts.
In an April 21 Dear Colleague Letter (DCL), the Department said eligible postsecondary institutions are required to "make a good faith effort to distribute a mail voter registration form, requested and received from the State, to each student enrolled in a degree or certificate program and physically in attendance at the institution, and to make such forms widely available to students at the institution."
In the DCL, the Department said, "With elections happening in every State in fall 2022, we strongly encourage you to make preparations over the next several months to fulfill this requirement. This includes taking into consideration voter registration deadlines to ensure your students have the information they need to participate in the electoral process."
Regarding using Federal Work Study (FWS) funds to support voter registration activities, the Department said: "If a student is employed directly by a postsecondary institution, the institution may compensate a student for FWS employment involving voter registration activities that take place on or off-campus. FWS funds cannot be used for employment by a Federal, State, or local public agency, or a private nonprofit organization, other than the institution, for work involving partisan or nonpartisan political activity, including party-affiliated voter registration activities, as this is expressly prohibited under 34 CFR 675.22(b)(5)."
Institutions with questions related to the voter registration requirements should submit those questions through the Customer Support process in Federal Student Aid's Help Center.