End of Service Award
In successfully completing your year of service, you're eligible to receive either the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award (education award) or the VISTA end-of-service cash stipend. You must make your selection in My AmeriCorps before you are sworn in as a VISTA. Please note that should circumstances change in your life plans, you can switch from the education award to the cash stipend before the end of your 10th month of service; but you cannot switch from the cash stipend to the education award. Summer Associates do not have the option to change from the ed award to the cash stipend.
Only VISTA members who are either U.S. citizens, U.S. nationals, or lawful permanent resident aliens are eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Segal Education Award in lieu of an end-of-service cash stipend. The education award is equal to the maximum Pell Grant of the fiscal year in which you started your service. For members starting service on or after October 1, 2018, the value of the education award is $6,095 for full year members and $1,289.95 for Summer Associates. The award is in the form of a voucher (not cash) and can be used for future educational training and related expenses at Title IV schools, and/or to repay existing eligible federal student loans. Be sure to visit the EdAward site to learn which student loans are qualified and which are not.
You may use the education award for up to seven years after completing service. When you use any portion of the award during a particular year, it is considered taxable income in that year.
You can only receive up to the value of two full-time education awards in your lifetime.
AmeriCorps VISTA members cannot transfer the education award to another individual.
End-of-Service Cash Stipend
The end-of-service cash stipend is paid in your last two living allowance payments, and you can use it however you like. Federal income tax and Social Security (FICA) deductions are are withheld from the stipend at the time of payment. If you select the stipend, you cannot switch to the education award. For members starting service on or after July 9, 2017 the daily accrual rate for members is $4.94 (approximately $1,800 for a full year of service.) For members who started service prior to July 9, 2017, the stipend accrued at a daily rate of $4.11/day through July 8, 2017 and then $4.94 starting July 9, 2017 and after.
VISTA Leaders accrue the end-of-service cash stipend at a daily rate of $8.22/day, approximately $3,000 for a full year of service.
Make a Selection
Consider the following questions before making your decision:
- Do you plan on going to college, a technical or trade school, or attend any other credit or non-credit training program after finishing service?
- Remember, you cannot transfer your Ed Award to another individual.
- Do you have qualified student loans? you'll need to review the Ed Award tutorial and check with your lender to validate.
- If you have federal student loans, you may be able to put your loans into forbearance or deferment, depending on which end-of-service option you choose. See the Reduction of Education Costs section for more detail.
Once you have made your decision, log into your My AmeriCorps account and make your selection under My End-of-Service Option.
For more detailed information on the education award and to get a broader picture of how it works, go to these useful resources: