Americorps is an independent federal agency that connects federal, state and local service programs with volunteers. This program offers volunteer opportunities for college grads to pay down their student loan debt while bettering their country and community. Follow these steps to learn how to pay down a student loan through Americorps.
Understand how the program works. An Americorps volunteer performs volunteer services for federal, state or local service programs such as the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity, for a period of 10 to 12 months.
Learn how the awards work. For a full year of service, you will receive and award of about $5,000 to be used to pay down qualified student loans.
Perform volunteer service. You can volunteer either full- or part-time for a federal, state or local service agency. Award amounts for part-time volunteers are pro-rated on a yearly basis. If you volunteer part-time, you receive half the dollar amount of a full-time volunteer award.
Claim your award. After you have completed the service, you have up to seven years to claim the service award and apply it to your qualified student loans.
- Get money to pay for living expenses. Many Americorps programs offer a small living stipend to help cover living expenses while volunteering.
- Defer student loans during your Americorps service so you won't run the risk of defaulting.
- Be sure to check the age requirements of certain programs. The minimum age to volunteer through Americorps is 17, but some programs require that you be 18 years or older to volunteer.
- You must be an American citizen or a legal permanent resident alien to volunteer in the Americorps program.
- Get your high school diploma if you don't already have one. You cannot volunteer in any Americorps program if you do not hold a high school diploma or pass the GED.
- Don't drop your classes. If you are attending school while volunteering, be aware that you will lose all or part of your award if you drop classes.