AMERICORPS ADDS NEW BENEFIT ALLOWING VISTA MEMBERS 55 AND OLDER TO TRANSFER THEIR EDUCATION AWARDS TO A CHILD
AmeriCorps’ VISTA members who are at least 55 years old at the start of their service can now transfer the education awards they receive to one of their children, stepchildren, grandchildren or foster children.
AmeriCorps VISTA members are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award after successfully completing their term of service. The awards can be used to pay education expenses at eligible post-secondary institutions, including many G.I Bill-approved programs, or to repay qualified student loans. The 2022 award is $6,495. This 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.
The Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits manages an AmeriCorps VISTA program with members in rural Arizona communities including Cottonwood and Willcox.
Alliance AmeriCorps VISTA members make a year-long, full-time commitment to serve on a specific project to bring individuals out of poverty by building the organizational, administrative or financial capacity of the organizations, primarily in under-served rural communities.
“This is a tremendous benefit for our AmeriCorps VISTA members to be able to support the educational efforts of their children, grandchildren or foster children and help ease the financial burden some may be facing,” said Alliance AmeriCorps VISTA Manager Angelica Hernandez-Williams.
Every year, 75,000 AmeriCorps members serve through more than 20,000 schools, nonprofits, and community and faith-based organizations across the country. These citizens have played a critical role in the recovery of communities affected by natural disasters and COVID-19. They also ensure students stay on track to graduate, combat hunger and homelessness, fight the opioid epidemic, support veterans and family members and much more.
Candidates must be 18 years or older with a college degree, pass a national criminal history background check and hold one of the following citizenship statuses: US citizen, US National, Lawful Permanent Resident Aliens and persons residing in a state that have the following legal residency classifications: refugee, asylum or asylee, temporary protected status, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) status.
Benefits for individuals accepted into the Alliance VISTA program include a living stipend; childcare benefits; the end-of-service awards; housing allowance; professional development opportunities; healthcare allowances; and one year of federal non-competitive eligibility.
A growing body of research shows that service has an effect on more than just the communities served, but also on the members themselves. AmeriCorps alumni credit their year of service for developing leadership skills that bridges divides, solves problems, and opens doors to opportunities that advance their careers and education.
In addition, research shows that alumni gain skills and are exposed to experiences that communities and employers find valuable. Public, private, and nonprofit sector employers have also demonstrated their commitment to hiring AmeriCorps alumni, signing on to be an Employer of National Service.
For more information about the Alliance AmeriCorps VISTA program, contact Hernandez-Williams at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (520) 689-4273. For more information about the Alliance of Arizona Nonprofits, visit www.arizonanonprofits.org.