Education Award frequently asked questions
What types of loans can the education award repay?
Most postsecondary loans backed by the federal government are considered by law to be qualified for repayment with a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. This includes both subsidized and unsubsidized loans. Also, loans that are made by state agencies, including state colleges and universities are considered qualified.
Qualified loans include:
- Stafford Loans
- Primary Care Loans
- William D. Ford Direct Loans
- Perkins Loans
- Federal Consolidated Loans
- Nursing Student Loans
- Supplemental Loans for Students
- Health Education Assistance Loans
- Loans issued to AmeriCorps members by state agencies, including state institutions of higher education
Is the education award taxable?
Yes. The education award is considered taxable income in the year it is used. For example, if, in 2019 a person uses all or part of an education award for college, for qualified student loans, or both purposes, all payments made from the education award in 2019 should be included as taxable income for that year. AmeriCorps does not withhold taxes from the award.
By the end of January each year, AmeriCorps sends a 1099 MISC Form to all AmeriCorps members for whom payments have been made totaling $600.00 or more during the previous year. These include both payments from education awards and payments of interest that accrued while the person was serving. The 1099 MISC Form reflects the total amount that AmeriCorps reports as taxable miscellaneous income to the IRS.
What are the various roles for an institution that processes requests through MyAmeriCorps Portal?
An Administrator should have the authority to assign and designate other staff to the various roles in My AmeriCorps, as well as have the authority to perform all of the role functions him or herself. An institution can designate more than one person as an Administrator.
An Education Award – Expenses Processor should have the authority to determine the dollar amount of an education award that can be used to pay current educational expenses for a particular period of enrollment. This includes being familiar with regulations governing the relevant types of eligible educational expenses—Cost of Attendance for degree or certificate programs and educational expenses for non-degree or GI Bill-approved educational programs. For a more detailed discussion of "eligible expenses", see the link Pay Educational Expenses, on the web page Use Your Education Award.
An Education Award – Loan Processor should have the authority to determine the payoff amounts for qualified student loans for which a member wishes to make a payment using an education award.
A Forbearance Processor should have the authority to review and approve requests for the forbearance of qualified student loans.
An Interest Payment Processor should have the authority to calculate the amount of interest that accrued on a member’s qualified student loan during the individual’s term of AmeriCorps service or provide the daily interest rate during the period. System-generated service dates are included with all forbearance requests.
Education Award FAQs
What is the maximum amount of an education award?
The maximum amount of a full-time education award is equivalent to the maximum amount of the Pell Grant for the year for which the national service position was approved. To determine the amount of each AmeriCorps education award, AmeriCorps will use the amount of the Pell Grant as of the first day of the Federal fiscal year (i.e., October 1st) in the fiscal year in which that national service position is approved. "Approval" of national service positions is managed differently for VISTA and NCCC members than for AmeriCorps State and National members.
If you're currently a member, the easiest way to confirm the award amount for which you are eligible is to contact your program or project sponsor. If you have already received an award, the amount will be in your online account in MyAmeriCorps.
Can the amount of my award ever change?
The dollar amount of an award that you receive can never change. But, since, by law, the amount of a full-time education award corresponds to the amount of a Pell grant for that fiscal year and the amount of the Pell grant may change, the amount of the education award may also change. However, the dollar amounts of awards that have been earned do not change.
How can I find out the dollar amount of the education award that I am earning?
You can ask your program or project sponsor for the amount of the education award for the position in which you are serving.
What is the “value” of an education award and how is it determined?
The “value” of an education award is distinct from the “amount” of an award. The value of an education award refers to the service opportunity offered by a particular term of service, such as full-time, half-time, and summer terms of service. While the dollar amount of an education award for a particular term of service may change, the value of the award for that term is constant. The value of a full-time award is always “1.0”; the value of a half-time term is always “.5”.
The value of every education award received is calculated by taking the actual amount of the education award received for the service and dividing it by the amount of a full-time award in the fiscal year in which the national service position was approved.
The value of an education award received = the amount of the award received ÷ the amount of a full-time award in the fiscal year in which the national service position was approved
* * * * *
FOR EXAMPLE: An individual completed a half-time term of service in 2016 and received an education award of $2,887.50. The amount of a full-time award in 2016 was $5,775.00. The value of this award is determined by the amount received divided by the amount of a full time award in the fiscal year. The value of the award in this example is: $5,775 ÷ $2,887.50, which equals .5 (or ½ using fractions).
* * * * *
Is there a limit on the value of education awards that an individual is eligible to receive?
Yes. An individual may not receive more than the aggregate (or total) value of two (2.0) full time education awards.
Do education awards that were received prior to the effective date of the Serve America Act count toward the maximum value of education awards an individual may receive?
Yes. The national service laws, as amended by the Serve America Act, do not differentiate between awards received prior to the effective date and those received after the Act’s effective date. All awards, including those earned in the past, will have values attributed to them for the purpose of tracking the aggregate value of awards a person has received. Thus, if an individual has received the value of two full-time education awards in the past, that person is not eligible to receive another award.
Does the limit on the aggregate value of education awards apply to awards received by completing terms of service in all three AmeriCorps programs—VISTA, NCCC, and State & National?
Yes. An individual cannot receive more than the aggregate value of two full-time education awards regardless of in which of the three AmeriCorps programs the awards are earned.
May an individual who has already received the aggregate value of two full-time education awards serve another term in VISTA and receive a stipend for the service?
Yes. A person who has received the value of two full-time education awards in VISTA, as well as in other AmeriCorps programs, may serve subsequent terms in VISTA up to the 5 one-year term limit for VISTA service. For that service, the individual can receive cash stipends upon successful completion of each additional term.
What happens if a member wants to serve another term but receiving the entire amount of the award for that term would cause the person's aggregate value to exceed 2.0?
An individual can receive no more than the aggregate value of 2.0 full time education awards. A member may be eligible to receive a portion of an award amount for serving an additional term if receiving the full amount would cause the person to exceed the value of 2.0. The following conditions apply:
- The award's dollar amount will be reduced (discounted), if necessary, to correspond to the remaining value of education awards the individual is eligible to receive.
- The member must agree to serve the entire term of service in order to receive the entire discounted amount.
- If a member is only eligible to receive a discounted amount, that dollar amount is determined using this formula:
2.0 - [minus] the aggregate value of education awards the person previously received x [times] the dollar amount of a full-time education award in the year the national service position was approved
* * * * *
AN EXAMPLE: A member has received one half-time and one full-time education award. The aggregate value of the two awards the person has received is 1.5. The member is eligible to receive up to the value of another .5 award upon successful completion of an entire term of service.
The maximum discounted dollar amount of the new education award this member can receive is calculated this way: .5 multiplied by the dollar amount of a full-time award approved for that new term of service.
In order to receive the entire discounted amount, the member must successfully complete the entire required term of service.
What happens if an individual who is eligible to receive only a discounted award amount does not complete the entire term of service but leaves early for compelling personal reasons?
For a member who is eligible only for a discounted award and leaves service early, the same rules apply as they do for other pro-rated education award amounts. The member:
- must have served at least 15% of the required term and
- must have left early for compelling personal reasons.
The pro-rated amount will be based upon the discounted award amount.
FOR EXAMPLE: a member enrolls in a term of service offering an award amount of $5645.00. But the member is only eligible to receive a discounted award amount of $2000.00 based on the value of the education awards the member has already received. The member agrees to serving the entire term in order to receive the discounted amount. If the member exits the term for compelling personal circumstances after having served 50% of the normal required term, the member will receive 50% of the $2,000.00, which is $1,000.00.
Title: Education Award FAQs
Date issued: October 1, 2019
Date posted: January 13, 2020
Unique identifier: Trust 002
Topic: Education Award FAQs
Summary: This addresses frequently asked questions regarding the Segal AmeriCorps
Education Awards that are frequently asked of the Trust.
The contents of this document do not have the force and effect of law and are not meant to bind the public in any way. This document is intended only to provide clarity to the public regarding existing requirements under the law or agency policies.