There are financial aid opportunities available to VISTAs and AmeriCorps members that might significantly increase a student's ability to create a better aid offer compared to a student without a national service background.
Likewise, people who don't use their award carefully might end up losing valuable student aid. Learn how avoid losing aid and other financial aid tips.
The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award can be used to pay current educational expenses at various types of schools — colleges, universities, trade schools, and overseas schools — that are designated as Title IV by the U.S. Department of Education. In other words, you can use it at schools that process U.S./federal financial aid.
Veterans of the Armed Forces can also use it for education, apprenticeship, and on-job training at institutions that accept the G.I. Bill. (Non veteran members who earned education awards between October 1, 2009 and December 22, 2011 are also allowed unrestricted use of their awards at educational institutions on the G.I. Bill approved list.)
Since the award can be used only for current educational expenses, you cannot use it to cover past balances in your school account. (You can, however, use the award on qualified student loans.)
You can use the award for enrichment classes and take a course or two here and there through a community college, junior college, or university -- as long as it's Title IV.
There are also a number of "matching" schools that provide an incentive for national service participants. For example, some schools offer a scholarship to service grads.
A student might be able to use the award to purchase a computer and/or buy school gear as long as the items qualify as "cost of attendance" expenses at a Title IV school.
When sending Education Award funds to a school, the money will arrive in two payments, and the second will arrive midway through the term or semester. Read more about the process of making a disbursement to a school.