Americorps Scholarships are available for your graduate studies if you are now serving in or have previously served in a service program like Americorps or the Peace Corps. We go over several options that you might have as you formulate your next course of action.
Resources for Both Present and Former Participants in-service Programs
If you apply to your service program and graduate school and are accepted to both, you are eligible for a deferment. It’s possible that the graduate school will let you wait to enroll until after your term of duty is through, but this rarely happens. If you are eligible for entrance deferment, inquire with the graduate program.
The majority of admissions officers prefer that you apply to their schools after completing your duty and that, if accepted, you enroll in their program.
Credit for service experience
Some graduate schools, particularly those that run or are connected to a service program, might grant you course or licensing credit for your service work. For instance, members who successfully complete their service can earn nine graduate credits from the University of Oregon’s Community and Regional Planning program through the RARE AmeriCorps program.
Depending on the certification criteria in their assigned location, Teach for America Corps alumni may also continue to pursue a teaching certification after their two years of service if they have not previously done so. Consult the alumni career services and resources of Teach for America. Returned Peace Corps Volunteers may count their time in the program toward obtaining a teaching degree or license in some jurisdictions. Check the exact accreditation requirements in the state you want to earn your degree and certification since certification standards vary by state.
The Master’s International Program is also available to Peace Corps volunteers. Through cooperation between the Peace Corps and more than 50 graduate programs, individuals can get academic credit for their Peace Corps service toward a degree in a graduate program that is a part of the program. Members of the Peace Corps spend one to two years in school before traveling abroad to serve after applying to and being accepted into the graduate program separately. Members of the Peace Corps receive academic credit toward their degree upon completing their service, and they then return to the United States to complete their graduate studies.
Eli Segal AmeriCorps Education Award
The Eli Segal Education Award is given to people who finish a term of service with an AmeriCorps program. The award sum varies annually and is based on the length of service. The prize can be used to cover tuition at accredited colleges and universities. The Educational Award may also be applied to the repayment of certain graduate or undergraduate student loans. Ask about options as part of your program as many graduate schools will match or double the Segal Education Award.
Application Fee Waivers
For applicants who will have completed service initiatives like AmeriCorps and the Peace Corps by the time they enroll in graduate programs, several graduate schools forgo the application fee. Other graduate schools do not specifically eliminate the application price for alumni of the service program, but they do so more generally for anybody who takes the GRE and earns a GRE Fee Reduction Certificate. To find out if you’re eligible for reduced fee coupons, go to the ETS (Educational Testing Services) website. Make sure to investigate potential institutions and enquire about opportunities at those you are interested in attending as some may have different requirements for fee waivers.
Look for graduate programs that provide Americorps Scholarships available to you for your graduate studies if you are now serving in or have previously served in a service program like Americorps or the Peace Corps. to admit students who have experience in the public sector or who have taken part in particular service initiatives when you search for and research graduate programs. Ask admissions or financial aid officers about Americorps Scholarships. Make sure to read and evaluate the terms carefully as service-related scholarships may differ from school to school in terms of size and requirements.
Even if the state where you are considering a graduate program is not your home state, if you have lived there and served there, you may be eligible for in-state tuition rates there. If you want to enroll in a state school in a nearby state, reciprocity agreements that certain states have with one another may offer more economical possibilities. Though not all graduate programs at public universities offer in-state tuition discounts, such as those offered by business schools and other professional degree programs, be aware of this fact. Check your state’s unique qualifying requirements to see if you qualify for Americorps Scholarship in-state tuition.
Tips to Make Your Application for Grad School Stronger
Your Americorps Scholarships graduate school application may benefit from your activities in a service program. Service experience is beneficial to your graduate application because it shows that you are interested in a field, have practical knowledge of it, and have had actual experience working in it. You can talk about your service experience in your personal statement, graduate interviews, and short answer responses. Describe the work in detail and relate it to your overall route through graduate school and beyond.
Always check the Americorps Scholarship service program websites for the most recent information on award amounts and eligibility requirements before speaking with the admissions staff at the specific schools you are interested in attending about any additional resources or tuition benefits you may be eligible for.