How many of you have received or will be receiving an education award? – How many of you are planning on attending school in the next 7 years? – How many of you are planning on repaying loans with your award? – How many of you arent sure how youre going to use it? The Education Award
You will be eligible to receive the award once you have completed the last day of your service term and you have completed all paperwork and program requirements. You will not receive the money directly; the National Service Trust holds your award in a trust in an online account until you request that it be paid to a loan holder or educational institution. Full-time members will receive $5,550 for the 2011-2012 service year (I believe). Receiving the Award
Using Your Award To use your award, log into your My AmeriCorps account and click on the My Education Award tab on the left- hand menu. Then click on Create Education Award Payment Request from the menu that expands from the tab on the left-hand side. Note: some information has been intentionally blanked out from this screen shot.
The Education Award Information Panel Note: some information has been intentionally blanked out from this screen shot.
Members can use the award to repay qualified student loans. For the most part, these include loans backed by the federal government (except PLUS Loans to parents of students). You also may use your education award to repay a student loan made by a state agency, including state institutions of higher education. You can use your education award to repay student loans in default, as long as the loans meet the definition of qualified student loan. Education awards cannot be used to repay any other type of loan, even if the loan was obtained for educational purposes. These include private loans and credit lines. Repaying Student Loans
Eligible Loans Eligible loans include: Stafford Loans Perkins Loans William D. Ford Direct Loans Federal Consolidated Loans Graduate PLUS Loans Primary Care Loans Nursing Student Loans Health Education Assistance Loans Loans issued to AmeriCorps members by state agencies, including state institutions of higher learning. This list includes the types of qualified loans that Education Award funds can repay. If you are not sure what type of federal loans you have, check your loan paperwork or ask your lender. You cannot apply your award to Parent PLUS loans or private loans.
The award can be used to pay current educational expenses at schools (colleges, universities, trade schools, overseas schools, etc.) that are designated as Title IV by the U.S. Department of Education. In other words, you can use it at schools that process U.S./federal financial aid. The award can also be used for education, apprenticeship, and on- job training at institutions that accept the G.I. Bill. Since the award can be used only for current educational expenses, you cannot use it to cover past balances in your school account. You can use the award for enrichment classes and take a course or two here and there through a community college, junior college, or universityas long as it's Title IV. Paying for School
You may be able to use the award for educational supplies and equipment such as a computer. The award can be used to pay for expenses within the schools predetermined Cost of Attendance. Some schools allow an increase of Cost of Attendance in a given year to help pay for supplies and equipment, such as a computer. While many schools allow this, it is at the discretion of the financial aid office. If you are a full-time student requesting to use the award on a computer, your chances are better than a student taking just one class. If you are a photography major, you have a better chance in asking to use the award to buy a camera than a student studying biology. Buying School Gear
When you are sending award funds to a school, the National Service Trust by law must send it in two equal disbursements: the first is immediate and the second gets sent at the middle of the enrollment period. In other words, if you request $1,000 from your award to be sent to your school, $500 will be sent when you request it. The school will receive the second $500 midway through the term or semester. If money due to the school from your award is due at the start of classes and doesn't arrive until later, you may rack up late payment charges. Work with your school to let them know that the funds are coming from an AmeriCorps Education Award account and are disbursed in this manner. Paying for School Process
How it looks… Payment requests are always made in two equal disbursements. Note: some information has been intentionally blanked out from this screen shot.
If you are planning to use $1,000 per semester for two semesters, you might want to request $2,000 from your award to be sent to the school. That way, $1,000 arrives in time for the first semester to begin, and the second $1,000 is deposited into your account prior to the beginning of the second semester. Understanding how the disbursement works is also important to know if you are using the award to purchase a computer or other educational equipment allowable under Cost of Attendance. Half of the funds you request won't arrive until several weeks after classes begin, so plan accordingly! Another Strategy
The award, unlike most other scholarships and fellowships, is subject to federal tax in the year you have funds sent from your National Service Trust account to a school or lender. Hidden Tax Danger: members who move on from service and start a job in the $30-40,000 a year range risk bumping themselves into a higher tax bracket (from 15% to 25%!) when using their education award(s). If you are concerned about taxes, you might try using your award(s) over the course of multiple tax years. – For specific details and examples, see the AmeriCorps Alums document in your packet, Using the Ed Award Smartly - Minimizing Tax Burden on The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Tax Implications
In January, following the year that you use all or part of your award, you will receive a 1099-MISC form in the mail. You can also download this from your My AmeriCorps account. This is an income-reporting form that you use when filling out your taxes. The 1099-MISC form should list your award amount on box 3 (Other Income) of the form. This amount should be listed on line 21 (Other Income. List type and amount) on you federal form 1040, and the type should be specified as PRIZE on the dotted line. Unlike other types of employment income, you are NOT able to withhold a sum from your education award and use it to pay taxes. If you use $600 or less, a 1099-MISC form will not be mailed to you (it will still be accessible in your My AmeriCorps account). According to the IRS, however, you are still obligated to report any amount withdrawn from your Trust account as income on your taxes, even if it's just $5. Tax Implications, continued
CNCS Segal AmeriCorps Education Award website: www.edaward.org The SmartStudent Guide to Financial Aid: www.finaid.org Grad School Resource Center: www.idealist.org/info/GradEducation For more Information…
In most cases, following a full-time service term, CNCS will pay 100% of the interest on your student loans after successful completion of service. To request that CNCS do this, log on to your AmeriCorps account, and click on where it says My Education Award on the right-hand side of the page. Then click on Create Interest Accrual Request. Whats this?
A number of colleges and universities encourage AmeriCorps alumni to attend by offering additional benefits. Some schools will match your award amount, some schools will provide scholarships to alumni, other schools will provide credit hours for your AmeriCorps experience. AmeriCorps Alumni School Benefits
Institutions that provide additional benefits to AmeriCorps alumni To access the full list and what benefits they offer, go to: tiny.cc/matching_schools
AmeriCorps-specific Information for the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Hiding half-way through the FAFSA, you'll find a question relevant to reporting your AmeriCorps income so it does NOT count against when your financial aid amount is determined. On the paper version of the 2011-12 FAFSA, it's easy to find: question 43D. Its trickier to find the question when filling out the FAFSA online. When you reach a screen labeled Student Financial Information Continued, you should see a number of check boxes. Click the checkbox next to the text, Grants and scholarship aid reported to the IRS. When you click the box, this text should appear: Student grant and scholarship aid reported to the IRS in your (and your spouses) adjusted gross income. Includes AmeriCorps benefits (awards, living allowances, and interest accrual payments), as well as grant and scholarship portions of fellowships and assistantships. Make sure you fill this out! It can help you get a better financial aid package than if you just leave it blank. Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)
Though you won't get the satisfaction of doing the math yourself, when you submit your FAFSA, the financial aid office will subtract the amounts you list in this section from your income, giving you a lower adjusted gross income. In other words, if your only source of income in the previous calendar year is $10,000 from AmeriCorps, then for financial aid purposes your income is $0(!), and you potentially could receive a better financial aid package than a student who earned $10,000 at a regular job. (Be aware that other factors may apply here – for example, if your parents still claim you as a dependent or if you have other assets.) FAFSA, continued
Upon termination from service, you may convert from your health plan provided by CNCS to a private plan administered by Celtic Life Insurance Company. This conversion option is available for those who do not have other insurance options. Your option to convert to private insurance must be exercised within 30 days of the date of termination from service. You may receive information by calling toll free 1-800-365-2365 or online at http://americorps.sevencorners.com/docs/Celtic3-09.pdf Note: COBRA coverage is not available through CNCS. Seven Corners Conversion
Learn about your options on: – The Foundation for Health Coverage Education's Ohio Health Coverage Tools and Resources webpage: coverageforall.org/states/ohio_health-coverage.htm – HealthCare.gov, a U.S. Department of Health & Human Services- managed website: finder.healthcare.gov/?state=OH – The Ohio Department of Insurance - Health Care Overview webpage: www.insurance.ohio.gov/Consumer/Pages/StateReforms.aspx Finding Health Insurance
Visit these websites, which let you compare health plans, get health insurance quotes, and apply for coverage. They are kind of like the Orbitz or Travelocity for health insurance plans: – GoHealth Ohio: www.gohealthinsurance.com/insurance/states/Ohio – eHealthInsurance: www.ehealthinsurance.com – HealthCompare: www.healthcompare.com For Private Health Insurance
Ohios Best Rx: www.ohiobestrx.org Ohio High Risk Pool: www.ohiohighriskpool.com Ohio Medicaid: jfs.ohio.gov/OHP/index.stm – Programs for Children, Pregnant Women and Families: jfs.ohio.gov/OHP/consumers/familychild.stm – Breast and Cervical Cancer Prevention Project: jfs.ohio.gov/Ohp/bcps/bccp/index.stm Other Health Resources
Former VISTAs who have successfully completed their VISTA service attain a status established by federal lawcommonly referred to as non-competitive eligibility (NCE) statusfor one year following their completion of VISTA service. This status makes VISTAs eligible: 1.For appointment by a federal agency into the federal competitive service 2.To compete for certain federal employment jobs that only federal employees are also eligible to compete for. Having NCE status permits an agency to hire a former VISTA who meets the minimum qualifications for the position without going through all of the formalities of the competitive process. What is Non-Competitive Eligibility Status?
How to find and pursue federal jobs where NCE status could be advantageous 1.Go to the federal governments official jobs site: www.USAJobs.gov 2.Click on Advanced Search 3.Under Applicant Eligibility, where it asks if you are A person with non-competitive appointment eligibility?, select Yes. 4.Proceed with your search. Next, make sure the employing agency is aware of your NCE status, by highlighting your NCE status in your cover letter, resume, and through supplemental documents that most online application systems accept. See the Non-Competitive Eligibility FAQ document in your packet for an example of how to mention your NCE status in your cover letter.
To establish your non-competitive status: 1.Log onto your My AmeriCorps account after you have finished your service 2.Click on the My Service Letter tab on the left-hand side of the page. 3.Select your service term and print out the VISTA Certification of Service with Non-Competitive Eligibility letter. 4.Submit copies of this letter with your federal job applications. How do I prove NCE status?
AmeriCorps Alums is the only national network convening the alumni of all AmeriCorps national service programs. Their mission is to fully realize the potential of national service alumni as leaders in communities. Their goal is to get alumni connected, equipped and engaged in order to foster their natural leadership drive and potential. AmeriCorps Alums provides all alumni: – Connection to fellow alumni through searchable database and social media – Access to low-cost higher education in public service – Leadership programming to support public service career tracks – Other miscellaneous benefits (free tax filing, Geico car insurance discount, Motel 6 discount, etc.) AmeriCorps Alums Benefits
Overarching Resources The Life After VISTA page of the COAD VISTA Resource Site! tiny.cc/COADVISTAResourceSite
Overarching Resources, continued Service Corps to Social Impact Career by Amy Potthast
Overarching Resources, continued The Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for First-time Job Seekers by Meg Busse with Steven Joiner
Overarching Resources, continued: Resources in the Idealist Guide to Nonprofit Careers for First-time Job Seekers
Overarching Resources, continued A step-by-step process to help you answer the question of "How can I afford to live comfortably and build a secure future while working in the nonprofit sector? From understanding personal savings accounts to learning the fundamentals of job salaries and benefits within the sector, this booklet is designed to guide you toward informed financial decisions. Making a Difference: A Guide to Personal Profit in a Nonprofit World
Networking & Job Searching Effective (and Non-Creepy) Ways to Stalk People on LinkedIn http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymus e/2011/12/06/effective-and-non- creepy-ways-to-stalk-people-on- linkedin/
Networking & Job Searching, continued Really Simple Search: The Job Search Tool You Should Be Using http://www.forbes.com/sites/dailymus e/2012/02/24/really-simple-search- the-job-search-tool-you-should-be- using/