FACT CHECK: Work Study Program Employs Students As Nonpartisan Poll Workers, Does Not ‘Bribe Voters’

Anna Mock | Fact Check Reporter

A video shared on Instagram allegedly shows Vice President Kamala Harris discussing a work study program that uses tax dollars to “bribe voters.” 


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Verdict: False

The claim is inaccurate. The Federal Work-Study Program (FWS) does not allow students to be employed for political services.

Fact Check: 

President Joe Biden recently made a comment saying he would have a “come to Jesus” talk with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu regarding the war in Gaza, according to ABC News. When prompted about the comment, Harris said Biden “meant what he said” and “a ‘come to Jesus talk’ is about having a serious talk, based on candor,” the outlet reported.

An Instagram video claims Harris is bribing voters via FWS. The post shares a video of Harris speaking into a microphone.

“The Federal Work Study (FWS) Program now allows students to get paid through Federal Work Study to register people and to be nonpartisan poll workers,” Harris says. “As we know, this is important for a number of reasons, one to engage our young leaders in this process and activate them in terms of their ability to strengthen our community.”

“Kamala Harris: federal government will pay college students to register voters for 2024…activate them,” text on the video reads. “Democrats using tax payer dollars to bribe voters.”

The claim is inaccurate, however. The Federal Work-Study (FWS) Program cannot be used for political purposes, according to a document from the Federal Student Aid office of the Department of Education. Work-study must be “in the public interest,” which “political activity, whether partisan or nonpartisan” does not qualify as, which also includes working as an aide, or lobbying, the document clarifies. 

A 2022 Department of Education memo specified that FWS funds can be used to compensate students for employment involving voter registration activities. “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),” it reads.(RELATED: Did Kamala Harris Say Women Should Engage In Oral Sex To ‘Get Ahead’?)

Check Your Fact has reached out spokespeople for Harris and the White House for comment and will update this piece accordingly if one is received. 

Anna Mock

Fact Check Reporter