Community Corps & Off-Campus Federal Work-Study FAQ

Am I required to apply to Community Corps if I’ve been involved with the program before?

Yes. Students are required to apply to Community Corps every academic year. Students have the opportunity to apply in either the fall or spring semester for the academic year.

When is the best time to apply to Community Corps?

Community Corps recruitment begins at the beginning of each semester and remains open throughout the semester. The best time to apply is within the first month of the semester. Community Corps opportunities can reach capacity so we recommend applying as soon as possible.

Do I need a BCI to participate in Community Corps?

Some Community Corps opportunities require a BCI. Rhode Island State law requires that volunteers with unmonitored contact with students in schools complete a state background check (BCI). To comply with this law, the Swearer Center requires that any volunteers over age 18 working with school-aged children complete a BCI. A BCI will not indicate if you have an out-of-state criminal offense. If a student is under age 18, it is incumbent on them to complete the BCI after their birthday. 

We at the Swearer Center acknowledge that discrimination based on criminal records perpetuates the marginalization of formerly incarcerated people and that the impacts of this discrimination fall most heavily on communities of color. Find out more about our policies around background check processes.

Community partners that require BCIs:

  • Brown Elementary Afterschool Mentoring (BEAM)
  • Brown Online Tutoring
  • Brown SAT Prep
  • Inspiring Minds
  • Swearer Classroom Program (SCP)
  • Swearer Tutoring Enrichment in Math and Science (STEMS In School)
  • Times 2 STEM Academy
  • Other organizations on an as needed basis. Please contact your community partner if you’re unsure whether you need a BCI to participate.
When can I complete a BCI and does the Swearer Center provide them? What do I need to complete one?

The Swearer Center typically conducts BCIs during the week of Community Corps orientation for free. To complete a BCI, undergraduates 18 years of age or older must either bring their government-issued photo ID or a clear printed copy of the front and back of their government-issued photo ID. 

If students miss the opportunity to complete a BCI with us they must go to the RI Attorney General’s office for a BCI. This is located at the Customer Service Center, 4 Howard Avenue, Cranston, RI (in the Pastore Complex) and is open Monday to Friday, between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.  

The cost for a state background check is $5.00, which the Swearer Center will not cover or reimburse. The Attorney General accepts checks (made out to BCI), money orders, or credit cards (Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover) and the Attorney General charges a processing fee of two percent plus 50 cents per credit card transaction. Cash is NOT accepted. 

I didn’t get accepted into any Community Corp opportunity. What can I do?

Sometimes our Community Corps opportunities reach capacity. We recommend that you email the student leaders to see if there is any availability or if there is a time you should check back in. Students' contact information can be found by visiting the Community Corps Partners and Student Groups web page. Recruitment into Community Corp happens in both the fall and spring semesters. If you weren’t accepted, you are encouraged to try again the next semester or visit the Swearer Center to meet with a member of the Student Development team to discuss other opportunities available to undergraduates.

Can I join more than one Community Corps opportunity?

Yes. If your schedule allows for participating in more than one opportunity then you are more than welcome to do so.

I’m not sure if I have an Off-Campus Federal Work-Study Award. How can I tell?

To participate in the Off-Campus Federal Work-Study program, students must be aided students with Federal Work-Study in their Financial Aid award. Students can view their award through Self Service Banner to see if Federal Work-Study is listed.

Do I have to have an Off-Campus Federal Work-Study award to participate in Community Corps?

No, everyone currently enrolled at Brown University is welcome to participate in Community Corps.

The process to get Off-Campus Federal Work-Study is taking a while. What is taking so long?

The process to enroll OCFWS students involves multiple offices at Brown, as well as our community partners. Our first step is to determine a student’s eligibility. Another common hold up to the process is when students have not completed an I-9. Getting an I-9 completed is crucial to the process. It is recommended that students interested in joining OCFWS complete an I-9 with the Brown Business Center as soon as possible.

Does getting a spot in a Community Corps group guarantee a spot in the Off-Campus Federal Work-Study program?

There is the possibility of being eligible for OCFWS, getting a spot in Community Corps and not being offered a spot in OCFWS. Off-Campus Federal Work-Study (OCFWS) is awarded on a first-come, first-serve basis. Every year we receive an overwhelming amount of applicants. Due to the high demand for OCFWS and in the interest of fairness to our community partners, the Swearer Center must limit the number of student placements in each organization. In the case that we reach capacity, students are placed on a waiting list for the OCFWS program.