Resources for Members and Alums
Volunteer Iowa supports AmeriCorps members in Iowa with training opportunities, recognition events, and networking contacts. We can also help with questions related to your AmeriCorps benefits.
AmeriCorps State and National members are required to receive training in certain subject matters such as Civic Engagement, Disaster Response, Communication, and Life-After AmeriCorps. In addition to trainings provided by their program, members are also invited to attend ICVS-supported trainings (for example, the annual Iowa Nonprofit Summit, held each fall). Contact your program director to find out about upcoming training events, or visit the Training section of our website.
We're proud of the service that all of our AmeriCorps members provide! Your contributions make our state a better place for all Iowans. See below for more information about how we work to make sure you are recognized for your service.
AmeriCorps Week: The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service helps organize AmeriCorps Week activities each spring. AmeriCorps Week is a time to recognize your service and let other people know about the great things you are doing as an AmeriCorps member. Check out the AmeriCorps Week page for more information about events in Iowa and nationwide.
National Service Impact Awards: The Corporation for National and Community Service has a program to recognize outstanding AmeriCorps members and alumni. The recipients exemplify the best in national and community service in the key issue areas of the Serve America Act and disaster services. Visit the CNCS website to find out how to nominate one of your fellow AmeriCorps members, or other national service representatives, for the National Service Impact Awards.www.nationalservice.gov/about/spiritofservice
State Volunteer Recognition Programs: The Iowa Commission on Volunteer Service coordinates the state of Iowa’s two most prestigious volunteer recognition programs: The Governor's Volunteer Awards, and the Iowa Volunteer Hall of Fame. Both programs allow organizations to nominate their national service members for special recognition.
Some AmeriCorps members serve in a large program or side by side in a team. Others of you might be the only AmeriCorps member in your organization or your community. Either way, we want you be connected to the world of national service and to others who can relate to your AmeriCorps experience. Keep reading below for ideas about how to connect with other members.
Facebook groups are a great way to find out about current activities across Iowa's various AmeriCorps programs. Contact us via Facebook to get connected locally:
- Volunteer Iowa- www.facebook.com/VolunteerIowa
Another way to connect with both current members and alums is to take place in activities organized by AmeriCorps Alums chapters. AmeriCorps Alums is an organization of former national service members from all three branches of AmeriCorps. Register to find members with whom you served, to meet other alums in your area, or to stay engaged in service issues- www.americorpsalums.org Currently, there are AmeriCorps Alums chapters registered in Des Moines, the Cedar Rapids/Iowa City corridor, and the Quad Cities-www.americorpsalums.org/members/group_select.asp?type=166.
Benefits- FAQ and Resources
Taxes: Iowa is the only state in which your Segal AmeriCorps Education Award payments are not taxed as income! Be sure to fill out your Iowa income taxes correctly by referencing the information below.
Health care: Members serving in AmeriCorps VISTA, AmeriCorps NCCC, or full-time in AmeriCorps state receive health benefits.
AmeriCorps State and National members receive their health insurance through a provider contracted by their program. These health plans must meet certain basic requirements, but the details vary depending on your provider. If you do not know your healthcare provider, contact your program director.
VISTA and NCCC members receive their health care benefits directly through the federal government.
- For more information, VISTA members can contact the VISTA Member Support Unit (VMSU) at 800.942.2677 or electronically at https://questions.nationalservice.gov/
- NCCC members should speak with their team leader or staff at their home campus for any additional questions.
Child Care: As a member, you may be able to receive assistance with the costs of childcare for children under age 13 or other eligible dependents. Eligibility is dependent upon the branch of AmeriCorps in which you serve and the length of your term.
- GAP Solutions, Inc. is the current administrator of AmeriCorps child care benefits. Find out more and apply through their website,www.americorpschildcare.com/.
Public Benefits: Due to receiving a modest living allowance, many members may be eligible for income-based public assistance programs, such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps. Your eligibility depends on your individual family and financial situation, as well as the type of AmeriCorps program in which you're serving. The DHS website includes details regarding how the Iowa Department of Human Services would count your AmeriCorps benefits (living allowance, education award payments, etc.) when determining your eligibility for Food Assistance, Medicaid, Iowa Care, Family Investment Program (FIP), Promise Jobs, and more.
Education Awards- General Information
- After successfully completing a term of service, AmeriCorps members who are enrolled in the National Service Trust are eligible to receive a Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. You can use your education award to pay education costs at qualified institutions of higher education, for educational training, or to repay qualified student loans.
- There are limits on the maximum number of education awards you can receive as well as the maximum value of education award funding that you can receive. Details about these limits can be found at the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award web page from CNCS.
- The Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act made changes to the amount of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award provided each year. The amount is now tied to the maximum amount of the U.S. Department of Education's Pell Grant.
- You can make payments from your award in full or part, and can take up to seven years after your term of service has ended to use your award. To confirm the award amount for which you are eligible, call your program or project sponsor.
- AmeriCorps State and National members who are age 55 or older at the time of enrollment into their program may transfer their Education Award to an eligible child, foster child, or grandchild. The recipient then has 10 years to make use of the award. See more detail below.
- For more information, including helpful guides to making the most of your Education Award, please browse the Education Award Guidebook.
Education Awards- Loan Forbearance and Interest Repayments
- Individuals who are serving in an approved AmeriCorps or Silver Scholar position may be eligible to postpone the repayment of their qualified student loans through an action called loan forbearance.
- While your loan is in forbearance during your term of service, interest continues to accrue. However, If you successfully complete your term of service the National Service Trust will pay all or a portion of the interest that accrued on your qualified student loans during your service period.
- Individuals who have successfully completed a term of service in AmeriCorps or Silver Scholars are eligible to have the Trust pay as much as 100% of the interest that accrued on their qualified student loan during their service. The portion that the Trust will pay is determined by the type of service (full or part-time) and the length of your service period. The Trust will only pay interest on qualified student loans, as described in the CNCS web page about national service loan forbearance.
- For steps on how to sign-up for loan forbearance and interest repayments, visit the following CNCS web page:www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/segal-americorps-education-award/using-your-segal-education-award
Education Awards- Public Service Loan Forgiveness and Income-Based Repayment:
- The Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program offers forgiveness for outstanding Federal Direct loans for those individuals who make 120 qualifying payments after October 1, 2007, while working full-time in a “public service job” as defined in the Act. Full-time AmeriCorps service counts as a public-service job according to this legislation, so if you are making loan repayments while serving, these could count towards your future loan forgiveness. Find out more by reading the frequently asked questions about PSLF and AmeriCorps.
- The new Income-Based Repayment (IBR) plan helps to make repaying education loans more affordable for low-income borrowers, such as an AmeriCorps members living on a stipend. More detailed information on IBR is located at: http://ibrinfo.org/
Education Awards- Transferring Awards
- The Serve America Act adds a new option for certain AmeriCorps State members to transfer their education awards to eligible family members.
- AmeriCorps State members who are 55 and older who enroll after October 1, 2009 will be able to transfer their education award to a child, grandchild, or foster child.
- Final rules about the transfer of awards are still being developed. Visit the FAQ section of the CNCS Segal AmeriCorps Education Award web pages or contact ICVS staff for more information about whether you are eligible to transfer or receive an education award.