Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

Segal AmeriCorps Education Award FAQ’s

For what purposes can the education award be used?

The education award can be used in one of, or a combination of, the following ways:

  • To repay qualified student loans
  • To pay all or part of the current education expenses to attend eligible Title IV institutions of higher education (including vocational schools) and educational programs approved under the G.I. Bills.

How can I tell if a school is a Title IV, if I can’t call the US Department of Education or I cannot access the website?

Ask the school if they give Perkins or Stafford Loans.  If the answer is “yes”, then they are a Title IV school.

What are some examples of “common qualified” loans?

  • Federal Student Loans: Subsidized and Unsubsidized
  • Stafford Loans: Supplemental Loans to Students (SLS); Guaranteed Student Loans (former name for Stafford)
  • Federal Consolidated Loans
  • Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford and Ford Loans
  • Direct Consolidation Loans
  • National Defense and/or Direct Student Loans
  • Perkins Loans
  • Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL)
  • Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL)
  • Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS)
  • Nursing Student Loans (NSL)
  • Primary Care Loans (PCL)
  • Loans made directly to students by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary education
  • Loans made directly to students in degree programs by a state college or university

How long does it take for my AmeriCorps Education Award to become available after my term of service? 

After you meet with your campus coordinator to exit the program, it can take anywhere from two – four weeks before your Education Award will become available in your my.americorps.gov account. Contact your campus coordinator if it has been over four weeks and your award is still not showing up in your account.

How long do I have to use my AmeriCorps educational award?

You have up to 7 years from your completion date to use your educational award.

Which institutions are considered eligible institutions?

Eligible institutions are institutions of higher education (including graduate and professional programs), as well as qualified vocational schools that currently participate in the Department of Education‘s Title IV student aid programs.

An institution is considered to be a “Title IV school”, if it has a Title IV Program Participation Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education making its students eligible for at least one of the federally-backed types of financial assistance (such as Pell Grants, Perkins Loans, Stafford Loans, National Direct Loans, and Federal Consolidated Loans).

To make sure that an institution is eligible, check with the financial aid office, business office, or veteran’s affairs office of the institution before making specific plans. Legislation enacted in 2009 expanded the use of the award to include enrolling in courses, programs of education, apprenticeships, and on job training programs that have been approved under the Montgomery and the Post 9/11 G.I. Bills. These are referred to as “G.I. Bill approved programs.”

If a G.I. Bill approved educational program is offered by a Title IV school, any individual with an education award can use the award for that program because the school is Title IV. If a G.I. approved program is not offered by a Title IV educational institution, special rules apply. The next question explains which members can use their awards at these programs. 

Can the AmeriCorps education award be used for more than tuition?

Yes, it can be used for all your cost of attendance (COA) at the school that is not covered by other financial aid.  This will be determined by your financial aid/bursar office at the school.

Can the AmeriCorps education award pay for classes taken at school before I did AmeriCorps service?

No, the AmeriCorps educational award can only pay for current educational expenses, (i.e. classes taken after you started AmeriCorps service).  NOTE: This rule applies to payments to schools for classes taken, not payments on loans–loans can be paid as long as they are qualified education loans, regardless of the age of loan.

What rules apply to a member who earned an award and wants to transfer it?

In order to transfer an award, the transferring member must:

  • have been at least 55 years of age on the day the member commenced the term of service upon which the award is based;
  • have begun the term on or after October 1, 2009; transfer the award before its expiration date;
  • have earned the award in an approved AmeriCorps State or National Program; and
  • ensure that CNCS receives the transfer request prior to the date the award expires.  

How to Request Your Award

  1. Log into the My AmeriCorps Portal at https://my.americorps.gov/mp/login.do.
  2. Under “My Education Award” (on the left) select “Create Education Award Payment Request.”
  3. Fill out the form, paying particular attention to the “Payment Type” and “Amount Authorized” fields.
  4. Select the institution to be paid by using the “Search for Institutions” link. If your school or loan company has not registered in My AmeriCorps, they will not be on the list of institutions in the system. In this case:
    1. After you complete a search and your institution does not appear, click the “Not Found” link.
    2. Enter as much information as you can about your institution or loan company into the fields.
    3. Submit the form. These requests may be processed manually and may take several weeks.
  5. Once you click “Submit” a notice will be sent electronically to your institution or loan company. A record of your request will appear in your account home page. The institution or loan company will complete their portion of the form and return it electronically to the Corporation for National and Community Service.
  6. If you encounter any problems, call the national service hotline at 1-800-942-2677.

Can I use my AmeriCorps education award to pay for classes/loans incurred by a family member/spouse?

  • No, at this time it can only be used for classes taken by you or qualified educational loans that are in your name.

Are there institution that will match my education award?

Colleges and universities across the country actively recruit talented AmeriCorps alumni for their reputation of perseverance, drive, and proven active citizenship. Many of these institutions offer a variety of incentives such as service scholarships or matching tuition funding to the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. Click here to see a list of matching institutions.

Is the AmeriCorps educational award taxable? 

Education Award will show up like untaxed income on your taxes the year you apply your Education Award.

  • Both interest payments and payments from educational award accounts have been determined to be taxable income. They are included as income in the tax year the payment is mailed to the school or loan company.
  • The Trust will report to the IRS the total of all payments that were made on a member’s behalf.  An IRS form 1099 (Misc Income) will be mailed to the member in January following each year in which at least $600 worth of payments were made on the member’s behalf.  This form will let the member know the total amount of his/her payments from the previous year. 
  • The member’s tax burden may be mitigated somewhat by federal income tax laws regarding educational credits and deductions for student loan interest payment.  IRS Publication 970, Tax Benefits for Education, explains these credits and deductions in detail.  The member should contact the IRS or his/her tax advisors for additional information.
  • You should refer all tax questions to your tax professional.  Please do not call the Trust Office for tax advice. 

Why was only half of the payment I requested sent to my school?

By law, education award payments for current educational expenses must be made “in 2 or more installments”, none of which exceeds 50% of the amount of the payment. The interval between installments may not be less than one half of the period of enrollment, except as necessary to permit the second installment to be paid at the beginning of the semester, quarter, or similar period of enrollment.

CNCS makes two installments, one at the beginning of the enrollment period upon which the amount is based and the second at the middle of the enrollment period. When the school approves the payment request, it indicates both the beginning date of the enrollment period and the midpoint date.

Payments are generally made by the U.S. Treasury every Friday. Exceptions are around holidays and the end of the year.

Who can I contact if I have additional questions about the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award?

You can contact the National Service Hotline at 1-800-942-2677. The Hotline is staffed by customer service representatives from 9:00 a.m. – 7:00 p.m. EST, Monday through Thursday. During high volume months— January, May, June, July, August, and September–the Hotline will be staffed on Fridays