WOW! You did it. We did it.
Every year, we add hundreds of young people to our Alumni network, which for you as an AmeriCorps members, includes the AmeriCorps network! There are tons of benefits to being a VYCC and AmeriCorps Alumni, not to mention that now you can use your skills, change the world, and take advantage of your Segal Education Award!
More information on HOW you can use your education award.
Questions? Reach out to Bo, our Community Engagement Manager, via email at Bo.Malcolm@vycc.org or phone at (802) 560-8466.
You have completed and graduated from one of VYCC’s AmeriCorps crews. This means you are ready to use your education award! There are so many different ways you can do this – pay off student loans, take college classes, or attend another educational program. We’ve listed some resources below in how to use your award and a bunch of different ways you can use it.
Pay off Educational Expenses
Loans, books, computers, oh my! You can use your Education Award for any upcoming educational expenses – this could be tuition, books & supplies, transportation, room & board, and any cost of attendance your school notes!
You can use your education award to pay current educational expenses (“cost of attendance”) at your “qualified” school. These are schools that offer federal student aid (Stafford Loans, Ford Federal Direct Loans, Perkins loans and Public Health Service Loans). These are considered Title IV schools. Also, any courses or programs authorized under the Montgomery G.I. Bill and the Post 9/11 G.I. Bill are covered!
We recommend talking to the financial aid office and finding out their policy regarding Education Awards and “Cost of Attendance.” The likelihood for this allowance is greater for someone who is a full-time student, but you never know.
Repay Student Loans
Already went to school? Paying off your loans can be a drag, but get a headstart on them by using your Education Award to pay off your qualified student loans! What’s qualified?
- Those government grants (those under Title IV) we keep talking about: 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
So, this is it! Your Education Award cannot repay any other type of loan, even if the loan was obtained for educational purposes at eligible schools or programs.
Forbearance & Interest Payment
That’s right! Most federally-guaranteed student loans are eligible for forbearance (aka YOU DON’T HAVE TO PAY YOUR LOAN WHILE AT VYCC). 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. Curious? Apply & find our more information using your My AmeriCorps Portal.
Did you accrue interest on your loans while at VYCC completing your AmeriCorps term? If so, once you’ve received your education award, you can apply to have all or a portion of the interest that accrued paid during your service! The amount will be based on the type and length of your service and are in addition to your total education award!
Education Award – How to use it!
Your Education Award(s) is managed by AmeriCorps, not VYCC. The AmeriCorps Website has a TON of information about your Segal Education Award, so if you still have questions check it out–we bet they have the answers! In the meantime, here’s a bunch of helpful information. First and foremost, your education award WILL count as income on your taxes during the year that you use it. So, be aware. If you are an AmeriCorps member, you should have already created an account through the My AmeriCorps Portal. The Portal is designed to help AmeriCorps members before, during, and after their term of service.
Don’t know how much of money you’ll be receiving? Head on over to the AmeriCorps website to learn about the different Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards. The amount you receive is dependent on the length of time your service term (in hours) was with VYCC.
If you need to register for a new My AmeriCorps Portal account:
- Go to https://my.americorps.gov/mp/login.do.
- Once at the login page, click “Register to create a new Member/Alum Account”
- On the registration page, enter your last name, date of birth, Social Security Number and current e-mail address (you must enter the e-mail address that you put on your enrollment form at the beginning of your time with VYCC).
- Click “Submit” and follow the instructions on your screen for your next steps.
After your season at VYCC, we will “exit” you from AmeriCorps, sometimes it takes up to one month for your exit paperwork to clear. Once you have been exited from a program a new option will show up on your My Americorps Portal, under “My Education Award” which allows you to pay your lending institution (whoever gave you your student loans) or Title IV School of choice. Be sure to read through the FAQs available at the AmeriCorps website as it will answer most of your questions.
Not sure what to use your education award on? No worries! You have seven years to use your full award.
If you are having trouble setting up an account or have additional questions, reach out to Caitlin at VYCC’s HQ or can call the AmeriCorps hotline at 1-800-942-2677.
Ideas for how to use your Education Award
If you already went to college, don’t have any student loans, or aren’t sure you want to attend college/university, there are many other ways to use your education award. There are a variety of organizations that are not Title IV organizations who accept the award. These organizations include NOLS, Outward Bound and Global Service Corps. Here are some ideas for you on other ways you can use your award…
NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School)
NOLS is a global non profit teaching leadership skills through wilderness expeditions. Everything from backpacking, kayaking,
horsepacking, mountaineering, wilderness medicine and so much more. Expeditions range from a few weeks to many months, which you can join as a student or take a course to become a NOLS instructor. Questions? Many VYCC staffers are NOLS alumni and can tell you more!
Interested in a semester program? NOLS will match your education award up to $2,000 for any semester program. All other programs (except for alumni and Leave No Trace courses) are eligible for your Education Award.
Learn more about using your Education Award at NOLS here.
You can use your Education Award on any Outward Bound Course. This can be a course that runs for just one-week Outward
Bound or as long as a semester or instructor course. By using your Education Award at Outward Bounce you can also receive credit from Western Colorado University through their Extended Studies program.
Curious? Excited? Lean in and check out the Outward Bound education award page or give them a buzz at 866-467-7651.
Medical Skills Training
Did you love WFA? Are you hooked on wilderness medicine? You can use your
Education Award at a variety of schools and increase your certifications! You can wait a couple years and keep your WFA alive, you can level up with a Wilderness First Responder (WFR) or you can go big and take a month to earn you Wilderness EMT certification.
Check out Aerie Backcounty Medicine, NOLS courses, and Swiftwater Rescue Institute as options for you and your skills.
Are you in Vermont? These institutions all accept the Segal Education Award as payment for the classes they offer!
Ready to travel and learn?
- Scuba Diving for College Credit
Rather be swimming with the fish? Some colleges offer scuba diving classes and certification programs through the Academy of Scuba. The Scuba For College Credit program will enable you to extend your Scuba skills far beyond a beginner course. You can develop your professional skills through our Continuing Education Platform or take “credit” courses. Check your local community college to see what they have to offer, you may even be able to use your award for your scuba gear!
- Sign-Language Certification
check with you local university for courses and certifications
- Trade Schools
Are you excited to start your career, but need more training? Ever considered culinary school, massage therapy, or other classic trades – it may be time to check out a trades school, just check to see if the school is on the Title IV list and then do some digging to see if they will accept you education award. Community Colleges are also a great lead for these sorts of skills and sometime are a fraction of the cost!
- Yoga Teacher Certification
Two options here…(1) go through a community college that offers yoga instructor certification classes or (2) go through a non-profit certification program that accepts financial aid.
- Leave No Trace (c) Master Educator
NOLS offers a 5 day Leave No Trace Educator course. This course averages about $600-$800 in cost.
- Global Service Corps
Use your education award do participate in an overseas service experience with optional college credit! Use your education award for program fees, airfare, and related expenses.Global Service Corps operates throughout the world providing opportunities for AmeriCorps alumni can stay involved in issues that are important to them while they make a positive impact on global communities. Projects relate to areas of health, education, and nutrition. You can participate for as short as a couple weeks to as long as six months or longer!
- Overseas/Study Abroad
Want to study abroad or go to school in another country? A number of schools outside of the US are listed as Title IV and accept the award. If your My AmeriCorps account won’t allow you to send funds to the overseas school, you might consider taking out a Stafford or other federal student loan and then repaying the loan with your award. If an overseas school is NOT listed as Title IV but you would still like to attend using your education award, you might be able to enroll in a school stateside and participate in an exchange program. That way, you are paying your tuition to a school inside the U.S. while attending a school overseas. To make this option work, it will take a bit of research on your part.
Any of these ideas work for you? Contact Aimee, Recruitment and Alumni Manager.