The Benefits of a Service Year

A service year is an experience unlike any other. It allows you transform your life and gain valuable skills and experience for your next step in life, while also making an impact in ways that can truly transform a community. It provides the opportunity to learn new things about the world and develop skills that help pave the way to higher education and a career.

  • Leadership skills
    • Learn to lead and influence as you work with team members from diverse backgrounds.
  • Confidence
    • Step out of your comfort zone and build an “I can do anything” attitude that stays with you in school and future jobs.
  • Independence
    • Build independence by doing a service year near home or far away, adjusting to living on your own, learning to manage a budget, and more.
  • Direction
    • Learn to navigate challenges both large and small during your service year, helping you make better choices in school, work, and life.

Career Benefits

Service year alums have gone onto successful careers in a variety of fields, including technology, consulting, education, government, nonprofits, and even the arts. That’s because employers view service year alums as motivated, flexible, and outcome-oriented leaders who have developed valuable skills and training. The employers that are leading the charge to hire service year alums are designated as Employers of National Service, which connects service year alums from AmeriCorps and Peace Corps with employers from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, including Disney, Comcast, Delta Airlines, National Park Service, and many more.

Educational Benefits

Many service year alums have used their service year experience as a stepping stone to their next level of education. Are you a high school graduate who wants to take a year before pursuing a college degree? Are you a college graduate who wants an opportunity to make real change in a real community? Do you want more experience before pursuing a graduate degree? A service year could be right for you. Just like employers, higher education institutions and graduate programs value the skills and experiences developed by service year alums.

The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is a post-service benefit earned by individuals who complete an approved term of national service in AmeriCorps programs.  The award is named after Eli Segal, a pioneer of national service and the first CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). The amount of a full-time education award is the same as the maximum value of the Pell Grant for the award year in which the service year is approved. Since the amount of the Pell Grant changes every year, the education award amount changes every year as well. You can read more about the education award here.

After successfully completing your AmeriCorps term of service, you are eligible to receive the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.You can use the award to repay qualified student loans and to pay current educational expenses at eligible institutions of higher education and training programs. You can access the award in full or in part until the total amount is used, or until the award expires.  The award expires seven years from the date it is earned.

You may also transfer the education award to a qualifying family member. To transfer your award you must be at least 55 years old at the start of service and the award must go to your child, grandchild or foster child.

Financial Benefits

  • Safe Routes to Health half time members will receive a $6,000 living allowance paid bi-weekly during their service year.
  • For Safe Routes to Health half time members that successfully complete their term of service and complete a minimum of 900 service hours, the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is $2960.

More: AmeriCorps Safe Routes to Health Member Information.