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.