The amount of a full-time Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is equivalent to the maximum value of the Pell Grant for the fiscal year in which the term of national service is approved. The amount of the Pell Grant can change each year. Therefore, the amount of a full-time award can change. Once an individual earns an award, the dollar amount of that award will not change. The award amount for less than half-time service programs varies based on the required terms of service.
Segal AmeriCorps Education Award amounts for national service positions approved in Fiscal Year 2021 (October 1, 2020-September 30, 2021)
|Participation types||Minimum # of hours||Amounts|
|Full-time (FT)||1,700 (365 days for AmeriCorps VISTA)||$6,345.00|
|Reduced half-time (RHT)||675||$2,417.14|
|Minimal-time and Summer Associate (MT and SA)||300||$1,342.86|
|AmeriCorps Affiliate (AT)||100||$357.08|
Segal AmeriCorps Education Award amounts for national service positions approved in Fiscal Year 2020 (October 1, 2019 - September 30, 2020)
|Participation types||Minimum # of hours||Amounts|
|Full-time (FT)||1,700 (365 days for AmeriCorps VISTA)||$6,195.00|
|Reduced full-time (RFT)||1,200||$4,336.50|
|Reduced half-time (RHT)||675||$2,360.00|
|Minimal-time and Summer Associate (MT and SA)||300||$1,311.11|
|AmeriCorps Affiliate (AT)||100||$348.64|
If you are uncertain about the amount of your award, contact your AmeriCorps program or project sponsor.
Use your award
Pay Educational Expenses
You can use your education award to pay current educational expenses at eligible schools and at certain GI Bill-approved educational programs for veterans
Eligible schools are higher educational institutions, both domestic and foreign, that currently participate in the Department of Education’s Title IV student aid programs. They are referred to as "Title IV schools." This category includes most post-secondary colleges, universities, and technical schools. If the school offers students federal student aid such as Stafford Loans, William D. Ford Federal Direct Loans, Federal Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans, and Public Health Service Loans, it means the institution participates in the Title IV program and is a "Title IV school".
GI Education Bill Programs: The award can also be used for educational expenses associated with enrollment in programs of education, apprenticeships, or job trainings approved for educational benefits under the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. Regarding the education award, such programs are referred to as "GI Bill approved programs".
If the GI-Bill approved program is offered by a Title IV school, the award can pay for current education expenses by virtue of it falling under the category of being a Title IV school. If the GI-Bill approved program is NOT offered by a Title IV school, it is referred to as a "GI-Only Program" and special rules apply.
The rules for using the education award at GI-Only Programs are based upon the date the award was certified (approved) by an authorized AmeriCorps program staff, and whether the AmeriCorps alumnus is a veteran.
- A Segal AmeriCorps Education Award certified on or after December 23, 2011 can be used if the member is a veteran.
- An award certified between October 1, 2009 and December 22, 2011 can be used by both veterans and non-veterans.
- No award certified prior to October 1, 2009 can be used for GI-Only programs, even if the alumni is a veteran.
Eligible educational expenses
- Title IV courses: The Cost of Attendance (COA) as determined by the institution for a degree or certificate program at a Title IV school. The COA may include tuition, books and supplies, transportation, room and board, and other expenses. The institution's Financial Aid Office determines a student's COA, based on U.S. Department of Education regulations and guidance.
- Non-Title IV educational courses offered by a Title IV institution: tuition and fees normally assessed a student for a course or program of study by the institution, including costs for rental or purchase of any books or supplies required of all students in the same course of study.
- See Section 2525.20 of the Code of Federal Regulations for additional information on eligible expenses for students taking non-Title IV courses, students taking correspondence courses, students with disabilities, and students engaged in cooperative education programs.
- Costs associated with courses or programs authorized under the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill. A US Department of Veterans Affairs-approved Certifying Official can determine covered costs.
Current educational expenses are expenses that you incurred after the start of your AmeriCorps service. Expenses that pre-date your AmeriCorps service are not considered "current." However, if you have a qualified student loan to pay for expenses incurred prior to your AmeriCorps service, you can use your award to repay the qualified loan.
If you withdraw from a school where you have used the education award, the school may be required to refund the Trust. If any refund is owed, it is credited back to your education award account, and is subject to the award’s original expiration date (seven years from the date the award was earned).
In rare cases, the education award can affect the process of receiving additional financial aid through FAFSA. Please consult your institution’s Financial Aid Office to ensure your financial assistance needs are properly addressed. You can provide your Financial Aid Officer with the letter FAFSA Guidance for Financial Aid Officers that we make available to educational institutions.
Repay Qualified Student Loans
The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award can only be used to repay the qualified student loans
- Loans backed by the federal government under Title IV of the Higher Education Ac (except PLUS Loans to parents of students) - Examples include: Stafford Loans, Perkins Loans, Wm. D. Ford Federal Direct Loans, Federal Consolidated Loans, Supplement Loans to Students, & Guaranteed Student Loans.
- Loans under Titles VII or VIII of the Public Service Health Act - Examples include: HEAL, HPSL, Nursing Student Loans, Primary Care Loans, & Loans for Disadvantaged Students.
- Loans made by a state agency, including state institutions of higher education
The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award cannot repay any other type of loan, even if the loan was obtained for educational purposes at eligible schools or programs. You can use your award to repay defaulted student loans, as long as the loan meets the definition of qualified student loan
Forbearance & Accrued Interest Payment
Individuals who serve in an approved program may be eligible to have the repayment of their qualified student loans postponed while serving. This postponement is called forbearance. You may be eligible for loan forbearance based on your national service. While interest may continue to accrue during your service, if you successfully complete the term of service the National Service Trust will pay all or a portion of the qualified loan's interest that accrued during your service.
Most federally guaranteed student loans are eligible for forbearance. If your loan does not qualify for forbearance based on your AmeriCorps service, you may be eligible for another type of deferment or forbearance. Contact your loan holder to determine eligibility and options. The Trust can only pay accrued interest for qualified student loans. If your loan is in default, it may not be eligible for forbearance.
You can apply for forbearance using your MyAmeriCorps account
Contact your loan holder if you do not hear from them within four weeks of submitting the forbearance request.
Accrued Interest Payment
The Trust will pay all or a portion of the interest that accrued on your qualified student loan during your service. The Trust can only make an interest payment after you have successfully completed a term of service and have earned an education award. But all members who have earned awards and have outstanding qualified student loans are eligible for this benefit.
The portion of the accrued interest that the Trust pays is determined by the type (full or part-time) and length of your service. Members who completed full-time terms of service, completed the terms within 12 months, and received education awards will have 100% of the interest paid that accrued on their qualified loans during their service. Members who completed part-time terms may not be eligible to have all of the accrued interest paid. And members who end their service early due to compelling personal circumstances may not be eligible to have all of the accrued interest paid.
Interest payments are not subtracted from your education award amount. They are made in addition to education award payments.
From your Home Page in MyAmeriCorps, you can electronically request to have a payment made for the interest that accrued on your qualified loan during your service. Open the field called My Education Award and click on Create Interest Request. Provide the requested information and submit the form.
A notice will be sent to your loan holder to verify that you participated in AmeriCorps and earned an education award. The notice will include a request for the loan holder to provide certain information about your qualified student loan to determine the correct amount of interest that accrued during your service period. Once verified, the loan holder submits the payment request electronically to the National Service Trust.
Interest payments are reflected in your MyAmeriCorps account and will also appear on the statements from your loan holder. Interest payments, as well as education award payments, are considered taxable income and are reported to the IRS.
Use the MyAmeriCorps portal to Manage Your Education Award
- Check your award balance and value
- Request payments to educational institution and loan holder
- Request forbearance on qualified student loans
- Update contact information
- Check living allowance and tax statements
AmeriCorps VISTA Cash Stipend
VISTA members may choose to receive a post-service cash stipend in place of the education award. VISTA alumni who chose the stipend may also be eligible for up to 15% cancelation on certain types of loans. Contact the U.S. Department of Education's Federal Student Aid Information Center for a list of student loans eligible for this type of cancelation.
AmeriCorps VISTA members who choose to receive the education award are not eligible for this cancelation.
Transfer Your Award
The Serve America Act allows the transfer of education awards earned by a member who successfully completes a term of service in AmeriCorps State and National programs, under specific conditions. To transfer your award, you must be at least 55 years old at the start of service and the award must go to your child, stepchild, grandchild, step-grandchild, or foster child.
Extend Your Award's Use Period
To be considered for an education award extension, one of the following must apply:
- You served another term of national service during the previous award’s use period, or
- You were unavoidably prevented from using the award during the original use period. Qualifying examples include:
- Member's serious illness, injury or disability
- Death, injury or disability of member's immediate family membe
- Destruction or inaccessibility of member's records
- Natural or other disaster
- Administrative consideration
The National Service Trust may grant an extension if you successfully complete a subsequent term of service in AmeriCorps, if that service falls within the use period of the previous award. "Subsequent terms" includes terms in which a VISTA member receives a cash stipend instead of an education award.
The Trust may also grant an extension if you served in Peace Corps or the military during a previous award's original use period and are unavoidably prevented from using your award during that period.
Lengths of Extensions
- Are unavoidably prevented from using the award, the extension is generally granted for one year.
- Completed a subsequent AmeriCorps term, the extension is equivalent to the length of your subsequent service term.
- Served in Peace Corps or military service and were unavoidably prevented from using your education award during that period, the extension is equivalent to the length of time you served.
To be considered for an extension your situation must occur within the previous award's use period.
Notice of Award Expiration
An email notice is sent to you 6-12 months prior to the award expiration, if a balance remains in the account. Letter notices are mailed to those who are not registered on MyAmeriCorps. To manually check the expiration date, log on to MyAmeriCorps and click My Education Award.
Request an Extension
We encourage you to submit requests via MyAmeriCorps. They are processed more quickly this way, especially if the request is based upon having served a subsequent term in AmeriCorps. Proof of your subsequent service will already be in the system. Proof of the date of your extension request will also be in the system.
To submit a request via MyAmeriCorps:
- Log on to your MyAmeriCorps account
- Click "My Education Award"
- Click "Create Extension Request"
- On the following screen, select the correct term of service and the reason for the request
- Upload any relevant documentation that supports your request
- Click "Submit"
If you are unable to submit a request via MyAmeriCorps, a written request is acceptable. A written request must clearly state the basis for the request, citing the circumstance that qualifies you for an extension, and must include justifying documentation.
Send written requests via U.S. Postal Service and postmarked before the award’s expiration date to:
The National Service Trust
250 E Street, SW
Washington, D.C. 20525
Send faxes to the secure fax number 202-606-3484 - the fax receipt or header date must be before the award's expiration date.
It is very important to submit your request before the award's original expiration date.
- For Peace Corps service, include a copy of your Description of Service (DOS) signed by the Peace Corps Director from your assigned country
- For military service, include a copy of your DD-214 or enlistment form, and an explanation of why you were avoidably prevented from using your award.
- For a serious illness, include verification from medical practitioner citing health condition and explanation of why it prevented you from using your education award. (The Trust does not require detailed or personal information).
- For a natural disaster, include a copy of the fire department report or insurance claim.
All payments made using the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award are subject to federal tax in the year each payment is made. It is considered taxable income regardless of whether it is used to pay current educational costs or to repay qualified student loans.
Payments made for interest accrued during the term of service are also subject to income taxes in the year the payment is made. Interest payments are made on your behalf for the interest that accrued during your service term. These payments are made in addition to your education award and are not subtracted from your award balance.
Any amount of the education award used, and any interest payments made during a tax year can impact your annual income tax responsibility.
- If you use the entire amount of your education award in one calendar year, you must include the entire amount as income on your taxes for that year.
- If you redeem only a portion of your education award in a calendar year, you are responsible for any taxes owed on that portion.
- If you do not use any of your award in a particular year, you do not include any part as income.
- All interest payments made on your behalf should be included as income in the year the payment was made.
- The Trust DOES NOT withhold taxes from your education award or interest payments. If your education award and interest payments total more than $600 in a calendar year, AmeriCorps will send you an IRS Form 1099 to be used in preparing your income tax return.
All education award and interest payments made on your behalf are considered taxable, even if they do not total $600. You can review all of your payments under Account Statements in your MyAmeriCorps account.
The living allowance amount you receive during service is also considered taxable income in the calendar year in which you receive it. For example, if you receive a portion of your living allowance in 2018 and the rest in 2019, the portion received in 2018is subject to 2018 income taxes, and the portion received in 2019 is subject to 2019 income taxes.
You will receive a W-2 form indicating the allowance amount you earned. Most AmeriCorps State and National members receive W-2s from the sponsoring organization. VISTA and AmeriCorps NCCC members receive W-2 forms from AmeriCorps.
While you are responsible for taxes on your education award and other AmeriCorps benefits, you may be eligible for other tax relief through the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997. For more information, contact a tax professional or the Internal Revenue Service.
IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education explains tax benefits that may be available to taxpayers who are paying for higher educational costs or repaying student loans. AmeriCorps members who use the education award and have interest payments made on their behalf, may be eligible for such deductions.
For questions, check out our Education Award FAQs or email SegalAward@cns.gov.
Title: Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Find Out More
Date issued: October 1, 2020
Date posted: January 13, 2020
Unique identifier: Trust 004
Topic: Segal AmeriCorps Education Award amount, eligibility, use, tax implications, and more.
Summary: This breaks down the amounts, eligibility, limitations, and value of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.
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.