AmeriCorps FAQs


How old do I need to be to participate?

The minimum age requirement for most programs is 18. However, some accept applications from 16-17-year-olds. While a few programs are designed specifically for young adults, the majority of our programs have no upper age limit.

What are the three main AmeriCorps programs?

AmeriCorps State and National: AmeriCorps State and National supports a broad range of local service programs that engage thousands of Americans in intensive service to meet critical community needs. Learn more about AmeriCorps State and National.

AmeriCorps VISTA: AmeriCorps VISTA provides full-time members to community organizations and public agencies to create and expand programs that build capacity and ultimately bring low-income individuals and communities out of poverty. Learn more about AmeriCorps VISTA.

AmeriCorps NCCC: The AmeriCorps National Civilian Community Corps is a full-time residential program for men and women, ages 18-26*, that strengthens communities while developing leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. Learn more about AmeriCorps NCCC.

*The CARES Act, passed by Congress in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, increased the upper age limit for participation as an AmeriCorps NCCC Corps Member to 26 years old. Under the CARES Act, Section 3514(d), the upper age limit for AmeriCorps NCCC members is 26.  AmeriCorps NCCC applies the upper age limit at the time a member arrives on campus and is activated as a member. That means individuals must be on campus and activated as members for at least one day before turning 27. The 26-year upper age limit will remain in effect until further notice.

I'm confused. There are different programs, with different names, but they're all AmeriCorps?

Yes, AmeriCorps is a national network of hundreds of programs. Two of these programs are managed nationally: AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps NCCC.

The other program, AmeriCorps State & National, also referred as AmeriCorps, funds local and national organizations to recruit AmeriCorps members. 

Will I get paid?

Yes, in most cases you will receive a modest living allowance throughout your service term.

What about housing?

Housing accommodations vary across the different opportunities that are available to you. Some are residential, and others do not provide housing so you can live wherever you would like.

Do I need a degree?

You do not need a college degree to serve. If you don’t have a high school diploma, you may still be eligible to serve.

What skills do I need to apply?

Most programs look for people with the passion to be part of the greater good. Some programs list desired skills, others look for applicants with specific education, volunteer, or job experience.

Will I get any training before I begin my service?

Yes, you will receive training at the beginning of your service, as well as project-specific training during service.

Will my race, sexual orientation, or disability affect my application?

We are committed to the idea that everyone can serve. AmeriCorps is an opportunity to learn about our differences while working toward a common goal. We strive to create an inclusive environment and offer reasonable accommodations for applicants with disabilities.

What benefits are provided during and after service?

  • Living allowance
  • Education Award to pay for college or trade school expenses, or to repay qualified student loans
  • Loan defrment and interest forbearance on qualified student loans, while in service
  • Professional Development
  • Alumni Network

Some of our programs provide health care benefits or a stipend to purchase healthcare. You may also be eligible to receive a childcare benefit if you have children under the age of 13.

Are there any loan forgiveness programs or repayment plans that I might qualify for as an AmeriCorps member?

On September 27, 2007, President Bush signed the College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 (“CCRAA”) into law. In addition to other amendments to the Higher Education Act of 1965, the CCRAA created two new federal programs: a new Public Service Loan Forgiveness program and a new Income-Based Repayment plan (IBR) for the repayment of federal loans. The new Income-Based Repayment plan helps to make repaying education loans more affordable for low-income borrowers, such as an
AmeriCorps Member living on a stipend; AmeriCorps service is also recognized as equivalent to a public service job for the purposes of the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program. To learn more, see Education Award FAQs.

Can I defer student loans during my service with AmeriCorps?

Members may qualify for postponement, or forbearance, of the repayment of their loans during service. The education award will help you pay off qualified student loans when you're finished. You may also qualify to have the interest accrued on your student loans during service paid for by the National Service Trust. Contact your lender for more specific information or to confirm your loan status during AmeriCorps service. To learn more, see Education Award FAQs.

What if I'm out of school and not interested in the Education Award? Can I get that money in cash?

If you're part of AmeriCorps VISTA, you may opt for a cash payment instead if the education award. AmeriCorps members are eligible only for the education award. However, if a member is 55 years of age or older at the time they start service, they can transfer their education award to an eligible child or grandchild. Learn more about transferring an award.

Can I join if I'm not a U.S. citizen?

For AmeriCorps State and National and AmeriCorps NCCC you must be a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or legal permanent resident alien of the United States to be an AmeriCorps member. For AmeriCorps VISTA, you must have one of the following citizenship statuses: U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals, Lawful Permanent Resident Aliens, or persons legally residing in a state that have the following legal residency classifications: refugee, asylum or asylee, temporary protected status or deferred action for childhood arrivals (DACA) status. By law, only VISTA members who are either U.S. Citizens, U.S. Nationals, or Lawful Permanent Resident Aliens—sometimes referred to as “Lawful Permanent Residents”—are eligible to receive an AmeriCorps Segal Education Award.  All other members will receive an end of service cash stipend.

How long are the assignments, and are they all full-time?

The time commitment varies depending on the needs of the program. Generally, the service commitment can be from three months, e.g. a summer program, up to one year. Many terms of service are full time, but there are also part-time service opportunities available.

Is AmeriCorps just for young people?

No, AmeriCorps values the experience of older Americans. Whether you want a career change or have just retired, it’s never too late to serve. You can also check out opportunities specifically for individuals 55 and older through our Senior Corps programs at

How do I apply to serve as an AmeriCorps member?

Visit Join AmeriCorps on this website and look for the step-by-step application process near the bottom of the page.


Grantees, Sponsors, and Organizations

Are there resources available for recruiting members and volunteers?

Yes, visit the Recruitment Resource Hub for materials, tips & best practices, templates, and more.

Where can I order brochures and other promotional materials?

Where do I place my order for AmeriCorps gear such as T-shirts and sweatshirts?

How do I find AmeriCorps programs in my own community?

Visit the State Profiles section and click on your state. Grantees are listed by city and organization name. To find the appropriate Corporation contact for your state, download the PDF labeled “National Service Contacts in My State.”

I’m interested in promoting AmeriCorps to my organization’s constituents. Where can I order brochures or other promotional materials?

I’m a faith-based organization. Am I eligible to apply for an AmeriCorps grant?

Yes, faith-based and community organizations are an integral part of our efforts to provide opportunities for Americans of all ages and backgrounds to give back to their communities. Learn more here.

I’m having trouble using eGrants, who can I contact for help?

For technical issues related to eGrants, please visit the National Service Hotline.  

Where do I find out about AmeriCorps funding opportunities?

To learn more about what’s available, eligibility, responsibilities, and new grant opportunities, visit the New Funding Opportunities section of the site.

Where can I find training and technical assistance information?

The National Service Knowledge Network, CNCS’s online stop for training and technical assistance. Through the Resource Center, you can access training publications, sample forms, funding notices, effective practices, and much more. For a directory of all CNCS training and technical assistance providers, visit the Learning and Best Practices page.


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