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How to use your Segal AmeriCorps Education Award grant

Updated on January 23, 2017

Yeah, yeah, so you're not making much money with your AmeriCorps job. You're working for the principles and good of it all, not for the cash, right?

Still, it can be hard to work for mere hundreds a week... or a month. So it's pretty rewarding once you reach the end of your year of service and find yourself with $4,725 in the form of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.

The Segal Award is AmeriCorps' way of thanking you for your service and encouraging you to continue your education. Some of you may have student loans to pay off, some of you plan to go to college after your year of service... and some of you may be done with college and have no plans to use your award.

DON'T LET THIS GIFT GO TO WASTE! There are so many ways you can use this award, and you may know of some of these, but others may have been out of your range of awareness:

  • Use the award for school as you go - If you are taking classes while serving with AmeriCorps, you can use the award while you serve rather than waiting until the end of the year to...
  • Pay off existing student loans - You might have decided to serve after graduating from college. In this case, you can use your award to pay them off. Just remember that you only have seven years to use your award, and you might not want to use the whole award at once; this can put you in a completely different tax bracket, and can increase interest rates.
  • Find a school to match your award - If you plan on continuing your higher education by attending a college, you might want to consider attending an institution that will match your award. That means that instead of not having to pay $4,725 of that school's fees, you don't have to pay twice that. Nice... but usually, those institutions are expensive private schools anyway (there are a couple of cheaper state schools... the list of institutions that match the Segal Award can be found here)
  • Go on a trip - If it's related to education, then you can use your award for it. You might want to learn another language in that country, or you might want to study abroad. Contact your college's financial aid office and ask a counselor how you can do this through the college. You'll probably have to have the school send your information to the program. Just make sure you talk to the office early enough because you'll need to secure financial aid before you can apply your Segal Award to costs.
  • Buy a laptop - or a car... anything that you can use toward your education. Again, talk to your school's financial aid office and see how you can use a student loan to purchase such items. You can then use the award to pay off the loan. My co-worker bought a laptop with her award... who knew?

How did you use your Segal Award?

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    • profile image

      Samar Misra 3 years ago

      Was wondering if somebody would be able to guide me on how to purchase a Microsoft Surface Pro that is a 2-in-1 serving as a tablet and laptop? I haven't used a penny yet of my Education Award and my service term ended in 2012.

      This 2-in-1 is like a tablet and laptop together and what is needed to purchase together consists of the tablet, keyboard, warranty and Microsoft Office separately.

      Thanks for the time!

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      Jhune 4 years ago

      My wife is a Nurse Practitioner and employed with sevearl doctors. We have two college loans we are paying and trying to see if there are anyt programs that will reduce our loan amount. We heard about government loan assistance through seeing patients with Medicare. Thank you for assisting us with this inquiry.

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      Katherine Conner 5 years ago

      Americorps is a Great organization, but please use your education award timely, and make sure you are well informed about the many ways you can use it through a competent financial aid officer who is well informed of its use.

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      RJ 7 years ago

      Ohhh!!! And by the way ^^^^^ need to go to school first ;)

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      RJ 7 years ago

      Yea I still have my award, been about 5 years since I got it. Im no longer with Americorps even though I wish I was, truly a great organization! The trip and laptop sounds awesome, and with a loan u can just pay it right back...sweeetttt :)

    • Juliet Christie profile image

      Juliet Christie Murray 9 years ago from Sandy Bay Jamaica

      this is an interesting and informative hub

    • fishskinfreak2008 profile image

      fishskinfreak2008 9 years ago from Fremont CA

      Very interesting