WASHINGTON, Dec. 15, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- AmeriCorps today announced a new nationwide initiative, Schools of National Service, to improve college access and affordability for AmeriCorps alumni. Through the project, participating schools will provide incentives and awards to AmeriCorps alumni in recognition of their service, encouraging them to attend their institution.
"I'm proud to announce Schools of National Service, a new effort that will prepare the leaders of tomorrow by making higher education more affordable and accessible today," said Barbara Stewart, CEO of AmeriCorps. "AmeriCorps has a long history of partnership with higher education and this new initiative will continue that legacy by highlighting schools that are committed to the public good. Every day I'm inspired by our AmeriCorps members – whether in service, in school, or in the community – they are making a difference."
As AmeriCorps prepared to launch Schools of National Service, nearly two dozen schools pledged their support, officially becoming among the latest schools to be named a School of National Service. This includes:
- American University (DC)
- Arizona State University
- Asbury University (KY)
- California Lutheran University
- California State University, Los Angeles
- Dominican University of California
- Indiana University; Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
- Kentucky Wesleyan College
- Lindsey Wilson College (KY)
- Madisonville Community College
- Salisbury University (KY)
- University of Baltimore
- University of Maryland, School of Education
- University of Nebraska, Lincoln
- Virginia Commonwealth University, School of Education
- Western Colorado University, Master in Environmental Management
They join the more than 200 higher education institutions who were already participating in AmeriCorps' Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Matching Program and will now also officially be listed as Schools of National Service. This includes four-year institutions, community colleges, technical schools, and graduate programs.
By participating, higher education institutions increase their applicant pool by gaining access to AmeriCorps alumni – a network nearly 1.2 million strong – who have earned billions of dollars in Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards. Schools of National Service gives higher education and other post-secondary institutions a way to make education more affordable to a group of Americans that research shows are leaders with the determination and skills to succeed, while demonstrating their commitment to service and civic engagement as an institution.
Building upon AmeriCorps' long-standing partnership with higher education, the Schools of National Service project will continue the already-proven role AmeriCorps has had in helping its alumni reach their goals. Not only are AmeriCorps alumni more likely to attain a bachelor's degree or higher than the average American adult, but 80 percent of alumni say AmeriCorps benefitted their career path. 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 their service.
The same report also shows that the majority of alumni pointed to their AmeriCorps experience as the reason for improving their ability to solve problems, broadening their understanding of society, increasing their confidence in interacting with others different than themselves, and helping them believe that they have the power to create lasting community change.
After completing their service, AmeriCorps members earn a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award which can 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.
Schools are eligible to become a School of National Service by submitting a written commitment to provide incentives and benefits to AmeriCorps alumni. These can include a scholarship or fellowship, particularly those that will match the value of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award; priority points for admission consideration; in-state tuition; one-year enrollment deferrals, especially those provided as part of intentional gap year efforts; academic credit for AmeriCorps experience; tuition discounts; as well as other incentives that may vary by institution. Schools can see how much their institution received in Segal AmeriCorps Education Award payments by viewing the most recent year's data.
AmeriCorps, a federal agency, brings people together to tackle the country's most pressing challenges, through national service and volunteering. AmeriCorps members and AmeriCorps Seniors volunteers serve with organizations dedicated to the improvement of communities. AmeriCorps helps make service to others a cornerstone of our national culture. Learn more at AmeriCorps.gov.