Community Service Helps Pay for College

On Tuesday, April 21 President Obama signed the Edward M Kennedy Serve America Act in to law.  In addition to helping make service a national priority, this bill offers several opportunities for students, and parents or grand-parents, to help fund education.  First, it increases the amount of the  Segal Americorps Education award from $4,725 per year of service to $5,350 per year of service, and ties future increases the award to increases in the Pell grant.  Students can earn this through a year of service in Americorps , who, coincidentally reports that with the economy, applications have nearly tripled in March compared to March of 2008.  This is another coincidence, since the bill also will trip the size of Americorps from the current 75,000 members to 250,000 members over time.  There are two ways students can utilize this award.  They can either work first, and then go to school and have the benefit.  There are actually 80 colleges who will match this educational benefit, thus doubling the amount of the benefit.  As more and more students consider a gap-year, this becomes a tremendous gap year option.  College graduates can choose to have this award reduce their outstanding education loans.

Americorps, however, has been an option for students for several years.  What is most exciting about this legislation is the new programs that it creates.  It creates two new programs that will aid in funding a college education: the summer of service and silver scholars program.  The summer of service will provide $500 ($750 for  needier students) education stipends for students who complete a summer of service between middle school and 12th grade.  The silver scholars program enables adults 55 and older to earn $1,000 towards education that they can then use themselves or give to a child or a grandchild.  They can also give the money to a student who they are mentoring.  Since the Act does not officially go into law until October 1, the first summer of service will most likely be in 2010.  However, check the Corporation for  National Service website, as community service organizations will soon be holding a summit to figure out how best to implement the programs.  Also, check back to our website for updates on how this will impact you ability to finance your college education.    

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76 Responses to “Community Service Helps Pay for College”

  1. Lance says:

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  2. Allan says:

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  3. kevin says:

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  4. andrew says:

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  5. Jimmie says:

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  6. Lee says:

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  7. Franklin says:

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  14. shannon says:

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  15. Carlos says:

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  16. Lloyd says:

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  17. terry says:

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  19. Kenny says:

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  20. Howard says:

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  21. Richard says:

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  22. Marshall says:

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