FAQs

1. Thinking About Becoming a JV

Who can become a Jesuit Volunteer?

Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) Northwest seeks applicants with maturity, openness, and flexibility. JVC Northwest welcomes persons of every ethnicity, origin, ability, sexual orientation, gender expression, and economic status.  Applicants should be 21 or older and have a college degree or applicable work experience. Applicants cannot be married, and we ask that applicants’ marital status not change during the service year. Jesuit Volunteers are committed to community, social and ecological justice, simple living, and spirituality/reflection.

Where do JVC Northwest volunteers serve?

JVC Northwest volunteers serve people living on the margins of society in 24 communities in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington, in both rural and urban areas. JVs serving in the Northwest have the unique opportunity to explore the incredible natural beauty and rich cultural diversity of the Pacific Northwest!

When does the service year start?

Service begins in early August, when all volunteers join together in Oregon for Orientation, a week-long introduction to JVC Northwest. This is an exciting week with opportunities for JVs to meet their housemates and experience what it truly means to be a part of JVC Northwest. While JVs are responsible for traveling to Orientation, JVC Northwest provides transportation to each volunteer’s community at the end of Orientation.

Why is JVC Northwest separate from JVC based in Baltimore?

The entire JVC movement began here in the Northwest in 1956, when a few volunteers helped build and teach in the new Copper Valley School in Copper Valley, Alaska. The program soon expanded beyond AK, and in the 70s and 80s, our program inspired the opening of five regions of JVC (Midwest, East, Southwest, South, and one international region), each an independent non-profit.

In 2007, all JVC regions decided to join together as one central program in Baltimore. However, after a long Ignatian discernment process, JVC Northwest discerned to remain independent and locally based to best serve our local and regional communities. JVC Northwest and JVC are now sister organizations that recruit alongside each other but now have different missions and opportunities for their volunteers. Learn more about the differences here.

JVC Northwest has been the catalyst for many other faith-based volunteer organizations, and served as a model for the U.S. Peace Corps.

What are the differences between JVC Northwest and JVC?

JVC Northwest and JVC based in Baltimore are two separate organizations. They vary in three primary ways:

  1. Types of placements/locales: JVC in Baltimore offers many large urban placements in the U.S., while JVC Northwest offers a bit more variety of locales. We have a number of large urban centers, but offer a wider variety of small cities, towns, and rural and remote locales. This means there are also more opportunities to serve with Indigenous communities, specifically in Montana and Alaska.
  2. Ecological Justice: JVC Northwest recently incorporated “ecological justice” into our core values, so there is a concentrated focus on this throughout the year. Ecological justice shows up both in the types of placements we offer, as well as in the resources we offer JVs and the challenges and lifestyle choices JVs take on during the year.
  3. AmeriCorps: JVC Northwest has been an AmeriCorps Direct Grantee for the last six years, which offers a significant benefit to our volunteers and agencies. This partnership means almost all of our JVs are also AmeriCorps members (142 of the 148+) and are eligible for the $5,815 Education Award at the end of the year, which can be used to pay back federal student loans or pay for future education. AmeriCorps funding also cuts the cost in half for an agency to host a JV, so more agencies and smaller locales can now afford to have JVs that couldn’t before our partnership with AmeriCorps.

How is JVC Northwest different from other service opportunities and programs?

One of the ways JVC Northwest is distinct from other service programs is the incorporation of spirituality into the experience. JVC Northwest is rooted in the Ignatian tradition of faith-directed service. JVC Northwest was co-founded by the Jesuits, who continue to support and fill an integral role in the on-going success of the program. JVs come from a variety of faith backgrounds and commit to sharing their traditions while finding common ground through service and the mission, and incorporate faith into their everyday lives and desire to work for justice.

The service opportunities available through JVC Northwest also differentiate us from other service programs in a few ways:

  • Cross-cultural opportunities: Our program offers a number of cross-cultural opportunities, so JVs may be serving in Alaskan Native, Native American, or Spanish speaking communities, as well as in urban and rural settings.
  • Diverse types of service: The types of service JVs engage in ranges from social work, education, health care, legal work, advocacy and community organizing, as well as working with people experiencing mental illness, disabilities, homelessness, and domestic violence.

 

We are also different in that we provide a great amount of support to JVs throughout the year. Support can come from each volunteer’s direct community, from local support people, the JVC Northwest area director, three retreats, and the large network of former volunteers. From the moment you become a JV, you are linked to the largest network of former volunteers serving in a faith-based program in the country. The quality of support and involvement from former JVs is unrivaled by other programs. Many JVs gain relationships with like-minded individuals that last a lifetime!

¿Hablas español?  ¡Tenemos un puesto para ti!    

Muchos de nuestros voluntarios trabajan con la comunidad latina, usando diariamente su habilidad de hablar en español.  Busca los puestos ubicados en las ciudades siguientes para más información: Yakima, Gresham, Wenatchee, Hood River, Portland, Hillsboro, Boise, y Seattle.  ¡Piensa en la oportunidad de usar tu español aquí en el noroeste!

Do I get to choose my volunteer placement?

As staff we do our best to match applicants with a position that will utilize their strengths, challenge them to grow, and meet the needs of the partner agency.  We ask our applicants to consider diverse types of placements and to be open to a number of possibilities, as their openness to go where the need is greatest helps us make the best matches and increases applicants’ chances of receiving a placement.

How is JVC Northwest connected to the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits)?

JVC Northwest is rooted in the Jesuit Catholic tradition and guides our mission and vision. Whether Catholic or of another spiritual tradition, Jesuit Volunteers must be open to sharing their stories and hearing others’ stories as well. Jesuit Volunteers often draw inspiration and direction from the traditions of the Jesuits, whether or not they were already familiar with these traditions, but also seek to explore their spiritual lives in other ways.

St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, sought to integrate a life of prayer with active work and service. Ignatian spirituality is realistic; it invites us to become more deeply aware of our experiences in everyday life, discovering the Divine in all things. As we do this, we become more conscious of God’s presence with us and more aware of how we might act in a God-centered way, especially in service to others. Like Jesuits, Jesuit Volunteers are called to where God, people, and places will best be served.

JVs are given opportunities to learn about and share elements of Ignatian Spirituality during three retreats, weekly community gatherings, and optional spiritual direction sessions. As founders and supporters of the JVC Northwest, the Jesuits provide support and act as resources to many JV communities.

What are my chances of being accepted into the program?

Your chances are very good if you meet the basic qualifications, are committed to living all four values for a year, and are flexible about where you may go and what service you will provide. Submitting your application as early as possible is recommended. Each application is carefully screened by a JVC Northwest staff member to make sure the applicant is well motivated, emotionally stable, and understands the commitment to JVC Northwest. The service agency ultimately chooses the best qualified applicant for each particular position.

What kind of training will I receive for my service position?

Your agency will provide the training needed for your specific position. This often includes a general orientation to the agency, shadowing staff members, learning protocols, and informational trainings throughout the year. Trainings vary by agency. You will also receive regular on-site supervision to get feedback and continue to grow in the position. JVC Northwest retreats and support people may provide ideas and resources which can further inform the service you provide at your agency.

Does JVC Northwest need applicants with special skills or credentials?

While most of our placements do not require special skills, there are some placements that do. Several teaching positions require certification; Spanish competence is helpful or required in many placements. Registered nurses and persons interested in legal positions are also needed for a few placements as well.

Does JVC Northwest accept international applicants?

Because of the challenge inherent in the JVC Northwest program, we do not encourage applications from persons who would have the additional task of adjusting to English language and U.S. culture. We do recognize, however, the special relationship between the U.S. and its geographical neighbors, and so welcome inquiries from Mexican and Canadian citizens who speak sufficient English to function well in both a placement and JV community, and who have the appropriate immigration status to sustain a year-long volunteer experience in the U.S.

Applicants from foreign countries must file for all appropriate legal documentation (visa, green card, etc.) at an early stage of the application/screening process, and be confirmed before the applicant is matched with a placement.  JVC Northwest is not able to assist applicants in obtaining the appropriate legal documentation.

How will I be challenged as a volunteer?

This is a year to ask questions, try new things, and to be challenged, by looking honestly at choices you make and building awareness about how your life impacts others.  This includes exploring and evaluating patterns of consumption, privilege, and personal bias. You will be encouraged to challenge yourself, as well as to be open to receiving encouragement and feedback from your area director, community members, and support team.

What is the length of service commitment? Can I apply for an additional service term?

Volunteers commit to one full year of service, beginning with Orientation the first week of August and concluding in the end of July. Current volunteers are welcome to apply for an additional year with JVC Northwest! You can read more below about what that process looks like.

I noticed that JVC Northwest is also an AmeriCorps program. What does that mean if I become a Jesuit Volunteer?

JVC Northwest currently receives AmeriCorps funding through a National Direct Grant from the Corporation for National and Community Service. Every JVC Northwest AmeriCorps member who successfully completes a year of full-time service is eligible to receive an Education Award for $5,750.

While the vast majority of Jesuit Volunteers are AmeriCorps members, some JV positions are not eligible for membership due to federal guidelines specific to their service provided at the placement. Some are also not eligible because JVC Northwest’s AmeriCorps funding is limited to 135 of our 150 placements.

See the AmeriCorps FAQs for more information.

What is JV EnCorps?

Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps (JV EnCorps) engages women and men ages 50 and older in a transforming experience of volunteer service and spiritual growth. Jesuit Volunteer EnCorps members (JVEs) commit to a year or more of significant service in their local communities and to JVC Northwest’s four core values. Visit the JV EnCorps page to learn more.

3. Application Process

When is the application due?

January 19, 2016 is the priority deadline; applications are accepted on a rolling basis after that date until all placements are filled or until July 15, whichever comes first.

Please note that a complete application includes the following:

  • complete application form
  • all reference forms submitted
  • resume
  • transcripts

What does the application process look like?

  1. Submit completed application; applicant will receive confirmation once application is complete (including all references)
  2. JVC Northwest staff determines who will be offered interviews on a rolling basis; applicant interviews with one staff member via phone
  3. If accepted, staff will review applicant’s Service Interest Form
  4. Generally within two weeks, accepted JV is matched with a position and agency
  5. JV has one week to decide whether to interview with the agency
  6. JV interviews with agency within one week
  7. After the agency interview, JV has one week to decide to commit to the agency and position for the JV year. The agency also decides if the JV interviewed is a good fit for their position.
  8. Once the JV and agency have decided each other is a good fit, then the application and matching process is complete!

What types of transcripts are accepted?

Official or unofficial transcripts are acceptable.

How long do the application essays need to be?

The Part A essay should be two to three pages total (using MS Word, 12pt font, and double-spaced). Part B asks for a paragraph about each of the five questions; please keep paragraphs to around six to eight sentences each.

How do current JVs apply for an additional year?

JVs interested in an additional year should complete the Additional Year Application. If applying from JVC, JVs should request that their original JV application be transferred to our office. As part of this application, JVs will need to submit essays and references from two community members, their program coordinator, and their site supervisor.

 

How can I check the status of my application (i.e. what pieces have been received)?

Feel free to contact the JVC Northwest office at 503-335-8202 or info@jvcnorthwest.org to find out which items have been received.

How are interviews conducted? Do I need to interview in-person?

Interviews are conducted over the phone with a JVC Northwest staff member, and generally last one to one-and-a-half hours. We encourage all applications to reflect on the questions provided in the Discernment Packet prior to their interview. Applicants must fill out and submit the Service Interest Form before the interview.

4. Financial Considerations

Do I need to pay money or fundraise to participate in the program?

No, volunteers do not need to pay or help fundraise to be a part of JVC Northwest.  Thanks to generous financial support from government grants and private foundations, as well as thousands of individuals and former volunteers, we do not require volunteers to contribute financially to be a Jesuit Volunteer. Many JVs’ family and friends have also made donations to JVC Northwest to contribute to the program and support the JV during their service year.

What if I have student loans?

As a JV, you may qualify for student loan deferment, forbearance, or income-driven repayment plans. Check with your lending institution to determine if you qualify and what steps need to be taken to make this possible. Non-AmeriCorps positions usually have a different process for forbearance than AmeriCorps positions. It will be important to explain to your lending institution that you are going to be involved in full-time service and receive a minimal living stipend. If needed, JVC Northwest can send a verification letter to the lender after the start of the service year. For JV AmeriCorps members, there is also an opportunity to receive an AmeriCorps Education award to help pay student loans. For more information on ways to reduce and postpone student loan payments, AmeriCorps forbearance and the Segal Education Award, see the AmeriCorps FAQ.

Does JVC Northwest offer the AmeriCorps Education Award?

Yes, JVC Northwest does currently offer AmeriCorps Education Awards for 135 of our 150 Jesuit Volunteers who successfully complete the full year of service.  The 15 positions that are not AmeriCorps eligible:

  1. provide service not funded by AmeriCorps, such as ministry or advocacy, or
  2. are simply not eligible due to the limited amount of funding.

 

The Corporation for National and Community Service will offer up to $5,730 for a full-time award.  Upon successful completion of the service year, the award can be used to pay existing student loans or put towards tuition at an approved U.S. college or graduate school.

See the AmeriCorps FAQ for more information.

How do I pay for basic living costs?

JVC Northwest provides each volunteer with a monthly living allowance to cover basic costs of living such as housing, utilities, and food. Each community pools their monthly living allowances to cover these shared costs. Volunteers also receive a $100 monthly stipend for personal expenses.

Do Jesuit Volunteers receive medical insurance?

Basic health care is provided to JVs beginning the first day of Orientation and for the duration of the service year.  Co-pays and prescriptions can be covered by JVC Northwest up to a certain amount. This basic insurance does not include dental or optical coverage. JVs can also choose to remain on an existing plan they may already be on.

2. Life as a Jesuit Volunteer

What does intentional community living look like?

Intentional community means JVs commit to having thoughtful, personal relationships with each person in their community and with the group as a whole. Each person is expected to participate fully and contribute to the community. JVs live with three to seven other volunteers, with the potential of having both an inter-generational and mixed gender community. Volunteers may share bedrooms, but in some cases have their own room. Everyone cooks and cleans, or learns how! Most community members volunteer at different placement agencies. As a community, you decide how to handle finances, agree on regular times to be together as community, discuss how to make decisions and resolve conflict, and divide household responsibilities. All volunteers are responsible to each other as members of the same community. The process of keeping communication and expectations clear is helped by regular community meetings. JVC Northwest communities also participate in weekly spirituality and community nights.

Can I bring my car? Computer? Cell phone?

A year as a Jesuit Volunteer is about stretching yourself to live without some modern daily conveniences.  Being in a place of discomfort can stretch us and teach us about the value of living in the present moment, how to be creative in how we spend our time, keep us in closer solidarity with those we serve, and actually free us to focus on what is most valuable in our lives.  For these reasons we encourage JVs to think very seriously about technology and modern conveniences.

There are some service positions which require a car. If the position does not require a car, then JVs should not bring a car to their locale at any point during the year.

Throughout the year, JVs are challenged to see what they can live without, including computers, cell phones, iPods, and other technology. If JVs decide to bring them, they will be encouraged to reflect on how often they use them and how they impact those around them. JVC Northwest might not be right for applicants who think they are not ready to be challenged in this way.

How is the value of spirituality lived out during the service year?

JVs spend one night a week participating in a spirituality/reflection night with their JV community members.  JVs take turns planning these nights for each other by creating a place to explore and talk about the faith or tradition of each individual, as well as that of that of the community. Spirituality nights are also an opportunity to explore new ways of experiencing the divine, reflecting about experiences, and forming trust within community. JVs should be ready to openly and honestly discuss their spiritual and reflective journeys and be open to hearing and experiencing the contributions of their community members as well.

Can I still maintain relationships with family and friends?

Everyone arrives at their JV year with those whom they already lean on for support.  While we encourage volunteers to maintain those relationships that are life-giving, the demands of community life and the reality of possibly being far away from friends and family may mean JVs are not in as regular contact with friends and family.  Spending time on the phone or on social networking sites can also be a distraction to community life and a barrier to forming relationships and trust within community. Therefore we encourage JVs to consider how they can maintain important relationships in their lives while also committing to the new relationships JVs have the opportunity to develop during their volunteer year.

How often can JVs leave?

Volunteers are encouraged to develop a sense of place by staying in their locale of service on the weekends and over holidays. JVs still may have the opportunity to travel home for a special occasion or visit different parts of the Northwest. If they do want to travel (in the above ways), they will need to consider the needs of their agency, solidarity with those they’re serving, how they will afford to travel on their monthly stipend, the ecological impact of travel, and the effect leaving has on their community and locale.

Can my family or friends come visit JVs?

Family and friends are welcome to visit a volunteer during their JV year, as long as it does not interfere with JVC Northwest obligations, such as area director visits or retreats. We generally discourage visits during the first four weeks of service, as this is an important time for the community to build relationships with one another and settle into their service and life in their new place. When hosting visitors, a guideline for consideration is whether or not the visit will disrupt the community. For example, family and friends who visit for a few days usually leave with a better understanding of the JV’s experience, and the community members often enjoy meeting their community member’s family and friends. Extended visits that last a week or more are not acceptable, as they will inevitably interfere with the commitments and daily routines of a JV community. We encourage JVs to talk with their communities about potential guests and schedules before they confirm the visit with their friends or family.

How does grocery shopping and meal sharing work in community?

A portion of the monthly living allowance provided by JVC Northwest is designated to cover the cost of a community’s food budget. It is up to each community to determine how they will work together to shop, cook, pay bills, etc. Some communities may rotate who cooks and shops each week, other communities designate specific people to fill these roles for a certain amount of time. All of these decisions are made by each community based on what works best for them.

How will special dietary needs be accommodated while living in community?

JVs can talk with their community to see if the community budget is able to accommodate some or all specific dietary needs. There is also the option for JVs to use their personal stipends to buy additional food to meet their needs, supplementing what the community is able to provide.

What do most volunteers do after they serve in JVC Northwest?

Some former Jesuit Volunteers (FJVs) go on to graduate school (social work, education, law, medicine, etc.), some take paid jobs at their placements or elsewhere in their service location, some pursue faith-based peace and justice work in the U.S. and internationally, others find jobs elsewhere. Some FJVs will begin work in the field they were planning to enter before their JV experience and bring with them their invaluable JV experience as a guide.  Some JVs find a new direction and interest during their JV year and decide to pursue jobs or careers they may not have imagined before joining JVC Northwest. There is also an opportunity for a second year of volunteer service with JVC Northwest. In general, volunteers gain valuable work and life experience that is well-respected by employers and graduate schools and helpful in many future pursuits.

5. AmeriCorps Program FAQs

General FAQs

Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC) Northwest began its direct partnership with national service through a National Direct AmeriCorps grant in 2010, and were awarded a recompete grant in 2013-14. The 2015-16 service year will be our third year of our second three-year grant cycle.  The majority of our placements are AmeriCorps positions.  JVC Northwest AmeriCorps members receive an education award upon successful completion of a year of service.  Members receive a living allowance which funds their housing costs, food, utilities, transport to and from the service site, medical co-pays and deductibles and other costs incurred during the year. We are currently reapplying for an additional three years of funding to begin in the 2016-17 service year. Future funding is conditional upon government appropriations and a successful grant award.

How do I know if my position qualifies as an AmeriCorps placement?
Most (135 out of 148) of our positions qualify for AmeriCorps. Some positions are not eligible for AmeriCorps because they are advocacy and/or ministry positions, and some positions will be non-AmeriCorps due to the fact we have a greater number of opportunities for full-time service than we have AmeriCorps funding for positions. Under the “Where We Serve” section on our website, there is a list of position descriptions; click on the details section to see if a position is an AmeriCorps position or a non-AmeriCorps position. Note: this will be updated to reflect 2016-17 positions in mid- February.

AmeriCorps Living Allowance

What is the AmeriCorps living allowance?
The AmeriCorps living allowance is an amount of money set by the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) that full-time AmeriCorps members receive during their year of service.  The living allowance for the 2015-16 service year is $12,530.

What is the living allowance used for?
The intent of the living allowance is that it be used for living expenses incurred by the member during the service year.  Before JVC Northwest became an AmeriCorps National Grantee, our individual partner agencies paid for the living costs of the JVs.  By becoming an AmeriCorps grantee we were able to substantially reduce the costs to our partner agencies and ultimately serve more people in need.  The living allowance is used to cover housing costs, food, utilities, transport to and from the service site, medical deductibles and co-pays and other costs incurred during the service year.  JVC Northwest offers to cover the cost of the monthly insurance premium on a basic medical plan.  While the housing cost is a set amount, the JV AmeriCorps member will cover his/her share of the communal cost of food, utilities and other community-incurred costs with the living allowance.  The monthly cost of living may vary, e.g., utility bills, especially in Alaska, can be quite high in the winter months.  At Orientation, we will discuss how to adhere to our core value of simple living in light of receiving the living allowance.

How do AmeriCorps members receive the living allowance?
JVC Northwest distributes the living allowance according to AmeriCorps guidelines.  The AmeriCorps member receives the allowance in equal amounts over a period of 10, 11 or 12 months, depending on where the member is serving.

Is the living allowance taxable?
Yes.  Our experience is that if one claims a deduction of “0” on the I-9 form, one will not owe taxes on the living allowance income.   However, individual circumstances vary and if an individual has other income from the tax year, taxes would differ accordingly.  If this is a concern, we suggest you consult a tax expert.

Do all JVs receive a living allowance?
No.  JVs whose positions do not qualify for AmeriCorps do not receive a living allowance.  Instead, JVC Northwest covers all of the community costs and insurance co-pays and deductibles up to the out of pocket maximum (in addition to paying the monthly insurance premium).  JVC Northwest will not reimburse any costs that are not covered by the insurance policy.  JVs who do not receive a living allowance receive a monthly personal stipend of $100.

Managing Student Loans & Paying Interest

What options are there for managing payments of my federally qualified student loans during my service year?

Historically, it was common practice for individuals engaged in national service to make forbearance requests for federally qualified loans and request that the National Service Trust pay the interest that had accrued on these loans at the year’s end. Now, there are a greater number of options for managing federal loans, including repayment plans options that could amount to $0 monthly payments based on the limited income JV/AmeriCorps members receive. Income-driven repayment plans may be desirable to those actively engaged in national service, because they can work along with the Public Student Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program.

The PSLF program is intended to encourage individuals to enter and continue to work full-time in public service jobs. Under this program, borrowers may qualify for forgiveness of the remaining balance of their federal Direct Loans after they have made 120 qualifying payments on those loans while employed full time by certain public service employers. Please note: interest still continues to accrue on income-driven repayment plans, and there currently is not the same opportunity available as with forbearance to request the National Service Trust to repay the interested that has accrued during the service year.

For more information about different types of repayment options:

https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans

For more information about public service loan forgiveness:

https://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/forgiveness-cancellation/charts/public-service

What are my options for managing payments on non-federal loans or federal loans that do not qualify for national service forbearance or income-driven repayment plans?

Non-federal (i.e. private loans) have extremely variable options for reduction and postponement of payments for loans based on the policies of the loan servicer. It is important to check in directly with your lender/loan servicer to see what options may be available to you prior to your service year. Upon request, JVC Northwest can write letters to lenders verifying your term of service and your income. JVC Northwest cannot help with student loan payments that may come up in your service year.

It is also important to take into consideration that not all types of federal loans qualify for the same options for forbearance, deferment, and income driven repayment plans. Once again, it is important that you contact your lender/loan servicer to know what options are available to you with your loans prior to beginning your service year. For example, Perkins loans options vary by lender and Parent PLUS loans are federal loans, but they are in parents’ names. Lenders will look at parent borrower’s ability to pay when considering requests for Parent PLUS loans. In other words, your participation in a national service program and limited income will not qualify your parent for a reduction or postponement of payment with your lender.

Who is my lender/loan servicer?

Your lender is the organization that made the loan initially; the lender could be your school; a bank, credit union, or other lending institution; or the U.S. Department of Education. Your loan servicer is the company that collects payments, responds to customer service inquiries, and performs other administrative tasks associated with maintaining a student loan on behalf of a lender. If you’re unsure of who your student loan servicer is, you should contact your financial aid office or, for federal loans, you can look it up in My Federal Student Aid.

Can I get student loan forbearance as an AmeriCorps member?
Individuals in approved AmeriCorps positions are eligible for forbearance for most federally-guaranteed student loans. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) cannot approve or disapprove forbearance requests. JVC Northwest can only verify that the JV AmeriCorps member is in an approved national service position. Only the loan servicer can determine a person’s loan’s eligibility for forbearance. If a person does receive forbearance, CNCS will pay the accrued interest AFTER the person successfully completes their term of service. If you have student loans, it is important that you check with the lender to see if they will allow forbearance because of national service.

What is the difference between forbearance and deferment?

  • Forbearance – A period during which your monthly loan payments are temporarily suspended or reduced based on certain types of financial hardships. During forbearance, principal payments are postponed but interest continues to accrue. If a person does receive forbearance, AmeriCorps will pay the accrued interest AFTER the person successfully completes their term of service.
  • Deferment – A postponement of payment on a loan that is allowed under certain conditions and during which interest does not accrue on Direct Subsidized Loans, Subsidized Federal Stafford Loans, and Federal Perkins Loans. “Certain conditions” are more specific than those generally required for forbearance.

For more information on federal forbearance and deferment see: http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/deferment-forbearance

If my lender does grant forbearance, how does this happen?
The accepted JV AmeriCorps member can apply for loan forbearance after they are officially enrolled in the My AmeriCorps Portal online, after the JVC Northwest Orientation in August. Most members apply for forbearance through the My AmeriCorps website.

For more information: http://www.nationalservice.gov/programs/americorps/segal-americorps-education-award/using-your-segal-education-award/postponing

AmeriCorps Education Award

What is the AmeriCorps Education Award?
The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is a benefit VISTA, AmeriCorps, and NCCC members receive upon successful completion of their term of service. This education award can be used to pay education costs at qualified institutions of higher education, to pay for educational training, and to repay qualified student loans. You can make payments from your award in full or in part, and you can take up to seven years after your term of service has ended to use your award. There are general terms that guide the use of the award and a process to follow to access your funds. The award is subject to taxes. (Note: The award cannot be applied to private loans or parent plus loans. For a list of eligible loans see: http://www.nationalservice.gov/resources/ed-award/list-eligible-loans)

How much is the AmeriCorps Education Award?
The amount of a full-time education award is generally equivalent to the maximum value of the Pell Grant for the award year in which the term of service is funded. The Education Award for full-time service in 2015-16 is $5,730.

Is the Education Award taxable?
Yes! Individuals incur tax liability for the year(s) in which they use the award. For this reason, many people decided to not use the entire award within a single year. The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) will send you a 1099 Miscellaneous Income Form if this amount is $600 or more. Please be sure to notify and send this form to anyone who helps with your taxes. Failure to report this miscellaneous income in your taxes will be followed up on by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and may come with additional fees. CNCS is a federal agency and reports the use of these funds directly to the IRS. Note: Any interest CNCS pays on loans that were put into forbearance during the service year is also taxable. You can request to have this interest paid at the same time you get access to your Ed Award upon successful completion of the service year.

What are the requirements to receive an Education Award?
The JV AmeriCorps member must accrue 1700 hours of qualified service, satisfactorily complete mid-year and end of the year performance evaluations along with site supervisors, and satisfactorily fulfill commitments as outlined by the member contract.

Is there a limit to the amount of Education Awards an individual can receive?
Yes. An individual may not receive more than the aggregate value of two full-time awards. Upon acceptance in the JVC Northwest AmeriCorps Program, please let program staff know if you have already been awarded the equivalent of more than one full-time service Education Award. This will help with the enrollment process.

How can I use the AmeriCorps Education Award?
The education award can be used to repay qualified student loans and to pay education costs at qualified institutions of higher education and training programs.
You can find comprehensive information on using the Ed Award at http://edaward.org/, including more on what kinds of loans can be repaid with the Ed Award. A person has seven years to use the award and it is taxable. You do not have to use it all in one year. This site also gives information on whether or not one might be able to use the award in nontraditional ways, e.g., buy a computer.

For more FAQs on the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award: