Yale School of the Environment awards $5K scholarships to students who serve 

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Ahead of the 52nd Earth Day, AmeriCorps, the federal agency for national service and volunteerism, recognizes Yale School of the Environment as a School of National Service, a nationwide AmeriCorps initiative to improve college access and affordability for those members who have completed their term of service.  

The new scholarship program will provide up to five AmeriCorps alumni admitted to the university in each incoming class with $5,000 scholarships, recognizing academic potential and leadership in environmental and forestry-related fields. Eligible programs include master's degrees in environmental management, forestry, forest science and environmental science. All awardees also will complete internships in underserved communities during their studies, allowing them to use and expand the skills they learned as national service members.  

“Yale’s commitment to AmeriCorps alumni actively removes barriers to service,” said AmeriCorps CEO Michael D. Smith. “Environmental conservation isn’t just about tackling climate change; it’s about paving a more just and equitable future for communities across the nation. I look forward to seeing how AmeriCorps members use their service experience in educational institutions and beyond.”  

“We are delighted to partner with AmeriCorps, an organization committed to tackling environmental challenges at the community level,” said Indy Burke, dean of the School of the Environment. “Providing financial support for students with experience in these efforts will both further engage these young environmental leaders and bring unique and diverse perspectives that enrich our school community.” 

The scholarship initiative and Yale’s membership in the Schools of National Service program was spearheaded by AmeriCorps alumnus and class of 2023 master’s of forestry science candidate, Cameron McKenzie. McKenzie served as an AmeriCorps member and watershed ambassador in New Jersey where he led community-based restoration projects and conducted training on watershed stewardship for local community members.  

“The people who go through AmeriCorps have done incredible work,” said McKenzie. “And this program will provide added incentive for them to take this path into graduate school.” 

AmeriCorps has provided significant funding to support conservation, renewable energy, and community resilience projects for almost three decades.  In 2021, 16,000 AmeriCorps members and volunteers improved more than 400,000 acres of parks and public lands; treated 14,500 miles of trails or rivers; weatherized or retrofitted more than 7,000 homes or public structures; protected or restored nearly 1,000 structures after natural disasters; and provided environmental stewardship education or training to more than 200,00 individuals. Read more about AmeriCorps’ work on climate

Yale joins the more than 250 higher education institutions nationwide who participate in AmeriCorps’ Segal AmeriCorps Education Award matching program, an initiative that awards those who complete their term of service funds to be used to pay educational expenses at eligible post-secondary institutions, including many technical schools and G.I. Bill-approved programs, or to repay qualified student loans. The education award is equal to the maximum amount of the U.S. Department of Education Pell Grant, currently approximately $6,400. Since 1994, AmeriCorps alumni have earned more than $4 billion in education awards, using $1 billion to repay student debt. 

Many higher education institutions that participate in the program report an increase their applicant pool by gaining access to AmeriCorps alumni – a network nearly 1.2 million strong – who research shows are leaders with the determination and skills to succeed with demonstrated commitment to service and civic engagement.  

More than half of AmeriCorps alumni believe that the education award received for their service gave them the ability to pay for education they would not have had, while seven out of 10 say that AmeriCorps helped them achieve their education goals, with one-third pursuing their education six months after completing service. Learn more about the Schools of National Service program.