AmeriCorps members are eligible to receive federal funding to help pay off student loans and cover some of the costs incurred while earning your teaching certification.
Teach For America began its partnership with AmeriCorps in 1994, as an inaugural AmeriCorps program. We are proud to participate in this network of national service programs committed to addressing critical community needs across the country, such as increasing academic achievement, mentoring youth, fighting poverty, sustaining national parks, preparing for disasters, and more.
Eligibility for AmeriCorps
You may be eligible to enroll as an AmeriCorps member during your first and second year as a corps member. To qualify for enrollment, you must meet specific citizenship and service term requirements.
Those who have already served in an AmeriCorps program and earned previous education awards may be ineligible for additional education awards.
AmeriCorps awards rely on federal funding. Given the competitive grant process and dependence on Congressional funding, these benefits are not guaranteed every year.
After each successful year as an AmeriCorps member, you may receive an education award. The specific award amount varies each year, but is typically between $5,300-$6,100.
If there is a shortfall of funding, we will prioritize the allocation of existing AmeriCorps benefits to:
- Those who have qualified federal or state student loans
- Those who teach in a region with the highest certification costs
“My path to the classroom was supported by AmeriCorps. I could not have made the choice to teach if it wasn’t for that support.”
Using Your Award
An AmeriCorps education award can only be used toward:
- Repayment of qualified student loans (a loan in your name provided by a federal or state agency)
- Payment of current or future educational expenses at a Title IV institution of higher education (includes most colleges and universities)
Many corps members use their education award to help with the costs of required certification coursework. Compare regions to find more details about certification costs in each region.
Several colleges and universities across the country match the AmeriCorps education award for their undergraduate or graduate students. See the full list.
The AmeriCorps loan forbearance benefit allows corps members to postpone regular monthly loan payments while serving as an AmeriCorps member. You can use loan forbearance to save for a major expense (car, graduate school, etc.), pay off loans more efficiently, or put money toward other responsibilities.
AmeriCorps only guarantees forbearance for qualified loans—those provided through state or federal agencies. However, several private lenders have determined that AmeriCorps membership is a valid reason for loan forbearance.
Ultimately, for private loans, it’s at the lender’s discretion whether or not to grant forbearance.
Loans that are in forbearance still continue to accrue interest. AmeriCorps will pay up to 100 percent of the interest that accrues on your qualified student loans (those provided through a federal or state agency) after each successful year as an AmeriCorps member. Interest payments will not be deducted from your AmeriCorps education award.
Both loan forbearance and interest payment are subject to eligibility. Learn more about the AmeriCorps loan forbearance and interest accrual payment benefits.
The AmeriCorps education award and interest accrual payments are considered taxable income for the year they are used.