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Unpacking the hidden value of AmeriCorps service benefits

College Possible AmeriCorps coach with student smilingFor college students about to enter the workforce, salary and benefits are usually the deciding factor in whether an opportunity is feasible or not. This comes as no surprise, as 58% of students at four-year public universities finished their bachelor’s degree with student loan debt, according to a recent study by the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities.  

With the rising cost of living and student loan repayment looming, it’s understandable that committing to an AmeriCorps service year can seem like a heavy decision. Is the living stipend sustainable? Will there be access to health insurance? These are all valid questions that current College Possible coaches once asked. “Being a College Possible coach is something I never imagined myself doing after graduating from college,” says Edith, a College Possible AmeriCorps coach. “Today, I wouldn’t want to be at any other place in my professional life than where I am right now.”

College Possible is committed to offering a full package of benefits and compensation to our service members, matched with the robust professional development and transferable skill-building our service year already offers. Let’s unpack just what benefits and compensation you’ll receive, and why these benefits offer important value at the start of your career.

Defer your student loan payments, interest-free 

The shock of student loan repayment can be one of the most jolting experiences upon graduating college. According to the Federal Reserve, the average student loan borrower makes $393 in student loan payments per month. When you commit to a year of service as a College Possible AmeriCorps coach, not only will your qualifying student loan payments be deferred during your time of service, you’ll also be earning hours toward a $6,895 Segal AmeriCorps Education Award—enough to pay an average year’s worth of loan payments.

At the end of your 1,700-hour service term, your education award can be used to repay your student loans, or for continued education expenses like grad school. In addition to student loan deferment during service, you can apply for the government to pay the interest accrued on your loans during your service term. With the average borrower accruing $26,000 in interest over a 20-year repayment period, this perk will save you about $1,300 in interest in just one service year. 

Comprehensive health insurance and wellness benefits 

According to a recent report by the U.S. Department of Labor, up to 30 percent of companies do not offer basic health insurance benefits to their employees; the percentage is even higher for the part-time and entry-level positions often held by recent college grads. 

As a College Possible coach, you’ll enjoy full-coverage medical, vision and dental insurance during your term of service, at no cost to you. “The health and happiness of our coaches is our top priority here at College Possible,” says DiLiesha Bryant, national director of AmeriCorps Recruitment & Engagement at College Possible. “Not only are we extremely thoughtful about coaches’ student support loads, we prioritize time to rest and re-energize, with 19 prescheduled days off throughout the year,” Bryant continues. “This is all in addition to the complete array of benefits to support our coaches’ ongoing wellness.”

College Possible coaches also have access to a complimentary Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Unlimited 24/7 access to our EAP includes a robust network of licensed mental health professionals, face-to-face sessions with a counselor, legal guidance, financial assistance and much more. 

Receive a biweekly living stipend

As a College Possible AmeriCorps service member, you’ll receive compensation in the form of an annual living allowance, paid to you as a biweekly living stipend. This can be used for anything, although many coaches use their stipends for rent, groceries and entertainment. 

Annual living allowances currently range from $14,823.53 to $25,000 per service term (or $617.07 to $961.54 for the biweekly stipend), depending on service location, hours served and your role. With College Possible AmeriCorps positions placed at eight urban locations (or “sites”) and nine college campuses nationwide, our placement options offer nearly something for everyone.

In addition to your living stipend, you may have access to additional benefits from your placement site or campus, such as a transportation pass, a housing allowance, or even a meal plan or discount on tuition (for our Catalyze partner campus locations), and more.

With benefits like complimentary health insurance coverage and the money you’ll save on student loan deferments and interest, a transformative year of AmeriCorps service with College Possible truly is feasible. If you have more questions about how to make the AmeriCorps service living stipend and benefits package work for you, please join us at one of our upcoming information sessions. 

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