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Using Your Segal Education Award in the New Year

January 2, 2012

Happy New Year Alums! It’s definitely a great time to be looking forward to new things. One resolution I like to keep is to always continuing learning and experiencing something new each month of the new year.

Though, if you’re like me, you may be a recent Alum who doesn’t have a whole lot of money in the bank, but rather a whole lot of loans in the tank, which can make it hard to go out and experience new educational opportunities.

Well fear not, because remember that Segal AmeriCorps Education Award you received at the end of your service term? It is one of the great payoffs ater serving in AmeriCorps and it’s guilt-free money (roughly ~$5500) that you can really splurge on yourself (of course, in the pursuit of education!) Plus, you can pace myself on spending it, as it is good for up to 7 years after completing term of service.

If you are trying to find some creative ways to using your award, we asked your fellow Alums on Facebook and Twitter (both of which, you should be following us on!) to see how they applied their Ed Award to help benefit them in their post AmeriCorps lives.

Check out some of the ways you can use your award:

  • Pay for current undergraduate education: If you’re currently enrolled in school or took some time off, you can use your stipend to pay for your next semesters. Alums were able to use the Ed Award to pay for summer and community college classes, allowing them to transfer to 4 year institutions. AmeriCorps programs like JumpStart allow you to serve while still being enrolled Full time as a student.
  • Pay for a higher degree: You can also use your Ed Award to help pay for higher ed degrees, including your Masters or PhD. Alums were able to pay for classes needed for prerequisites for grad school, online classes, books, and other big ticket items associated with grad school.
  • Pay for special interest/ study abroad programs: Some Alums able to use their Ed Award to pay for special interests classes, including EMT training, SCUBA lessons, photography courses, and sewing classes. Some of these courses eventually turned a hobby into a career path for our Alums! Other alums were able to enroll in study abroad programs, even after graduating from school.Check with your institution to make sure that the Ed Award is accepted in either programs.
  • Pay back loans: For me, the Ed Award helps put a big dent on my undergraduate student loans. Like many Alums, it is a huge chunk of money I do not have to worry about paying back to my loan company. Most educational institutions will accept the Ed Award as repayment for student loans.
  • Opt for a stipend: For current and Alum VISTA members, there’s the option to opt for a end of term stipend of $1500 if they chose to forgo the Ed Award. That option is made during the beginning of service and none of our Alums reported going with that option.

Weezy and Fat Joe are using their Ed Awards in the pursuit of degrees in physics.

Regardless of how you chose to use your stipend, know that you earned that Ed Award! Your hours of service and commitment to uplifting communities are things we laud you for. Also, if you’re in the giving mood, you can also transfer your Ed Award (if eligible).

So go ahead, make it rain all over your bad educational, serving self this new year!

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. January 2, 2012 10:38 am

    I think it is important to point out that when using the ed award to pay back student loans, the loans must be federally backed. I have a significant amount of debt from private education loans and the ed award was not able to be used for that. I was able to use the ed award towards some other loans, but was surprised to find out that private loans did not qualify.

  2. Carolyn Payne permalink
    January 2, 2012 11:17 am

    I am coming to the end of my second year AmeriCorps VISTA. my second term is as a leader. I have requested to serve a third year. My question is I am 63 female that would like to use the segal award but I think I am too old to do the college thing. I have never been to college and I have a GED so what does that tell you. I love teaching people new things or how to better themselves. I had a business school once teaching the basic fundamentals of office procedures and loved it. I graduated 10 students thru a 6 wk course. Do yall think I am too old and should take the stipend or what. I am not interested in a long term college class. maybe a year. Can someone help me to see the advantages.

  3. January 5, 2012 7:24 pm

    If you have children of your own or grand children, an option you can take is transferring the award for them to use in their pursuit of higher education. Here’s a FAQ page from AmeriCorps to help further elaborate on the details: http://bit.ly/xdUvle

    Hope this helps!

    Ken

  4. January 5, 2012 7:25 pm

    Very true, Laura! We definitely encourage our Alums to research if any institution, prior to applying their Ed Award.

    Ken

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