FAQs about Joining
What do you want to know about AmeriCorps service in Minnesota?
What is AmeriCorps?
AmeriCorps is the United States' system for people to serve communities across the country -- from classrooms to the outdoors to everything in between. In AmeriCorps, you can learn and apply new skills as you give back to your community, state and country through public service. Since its creation in 1994, more than a million people have served in AmeriCorps.
What do AmeriCorps members do?
People who join AmeriCorps (called “members”) provide direct service in the areas of education, disaster services, economic opportunity, environmental stewardship, healthy futures, and veterans and military families. Here in Minnesota, there are hundreds of opportunities to get involved.
As an AmeriCorps member, you can:
- Help children become confident readers
- Prepare students for high school math
- Help serve people in recovery from substance use disorder
- Tutor and mentor disadvantaged youth
- Build and restore affordable housing
- Teach computer and employment skills
- Clean parks and streams
- And much more!
Where do AmeriCorps members serve?
Members can serve with nonprofit organizations, state and local units of government, public and charter schools, institutions of higher education, Native American tribes and more. AmeriCorps members are serving across the state in 77 of Minnesota's 87 counties.
Look at Programs on the ServeMinnesota website for a list of all of our AmeriCorps programs.
ServeMinnesota is the Minnesota State Commission for National and Community Service, meaning we oversee all of the state programs with AmeriCorps members. We are responsible for awarding Federal AmeriCorps and State funds to support high quality AmeriCorps programs that have proven, measurable impact on critical community needs across Minnesota. In addition, ServeMinnesota provides monitoring, training and technical assistance to AmeriCorps programs in Minnesota.
What qualifications do you need to have to be an AmeriCorps member?
Minimum Eligibility Requirements:
• You must be a U.S. citizen, national or legal permanent resident alien of the U.S.
• You must be at least 17 years old, although some service opportunities require an individual to be at least 18. For most programs, there are no upper age limits.
• Some programs require experience, a certain level of educational achievement or skills in certain areas.
All of our programs offer training to help you feel confident and prepared to serve.
How much do AmeriCorps members earn?
Members serving in full‐time positions receive a minimum living allowance of at least $16,000 during their year of service.
This living allowance is to be evenly distributed over the member’s service term and is not tied directly to the hours served (i.e. not an hourly wage). Members also serve in part‐time and summer positions and receive a pro-rated living allowance. Members serving in a full‐time capacity are eligible for health insurance and may be eligible for child care reimbursements depending on family size and income.
After completing their terms of service, full‐time members receive an education award of up to $6,345 (based on 2021 rates) to pay for higher education or qualified student loans. Part-time members receive a pro‐rated award.
How much is the education award?
The education award rate for full-time service in 2020-21 program year is $6,345 per term of service.
How do I apply for AmeriCorps?
Each AmeriCorps program in Minnesota has a different application, deadline and hiring process. The first step is filling out this Contact Form, and telling us a little bit about yourself and your interests. We will get back to you directly and make sure you are entered into our system of applicants.
How can the education award be used? What if I'm not in college?
You can use the education award to pay for tuition for associate, undergraduate or graduate studies at a qualified school. There are many other ways it can be used, too, though:
- Books, college fees and other educational necessities
- Online courses at approved college and university programs
- Purchase a laptop that you will use in school (note that the computer would have to be purchased through the college — for example, from a technology lease-to-own program)
- Pay off existing student loans (just make sure these are qualified federal loans rather than private bank loans)
- A combination of current educational expenses and repay qualified student loans
- Study-abroad program expenses
- Coursework in a specialized skill – coding, EMT training, sign language certification, videography and photography, certain teaching certifications and many other programs, often offered at community colleges
- Fees associated with an apprenticeship program
If you are 55 or older and not planning to continue your education, you can transfer the education award to your child, stepchild, foster child or grandchild for any and all of these educational expenses, too. If you transfer the award, that person has 10 years from date you completed your service to use it. (Also, you can only transfer once to one person, but you don’t have to transfer the whole thing — so in theory, you might be able to take a class with your child or grandchild for free!)
Plus, some colleges and universities even will match your AmeriCorps Education Award. In Minnesota, this includes the University of Minnesota – Humphrey School of Public Affairs, Augsburg College and Concordia University-St. Paul, Macalester College, Mitchell Hamline School of Law, and University of St. Thomas. No industry-wide standard exists for matching awards; some schools match the amount of the education award, and some schools offer scholarships in set amounts that remain constant regardless of the amount of education award earned. Some institutions offer the scholarships on a continuing basis, while others offer one-time-only awards. Check with your college or university to learn their policy and how they apply the matching funds.
Can I defer college loan payments while serving in AmeriCorps?
Members who have student loans may qualify for forbearance, or postponement, during their term of service. After you complete your term of service, the National Service Trust will pay part or all of the interest that accrues during forbearance. This is in addition to your education award.
Does AmeriCorps pay for health insurance?
Yes. Members who serve 35 hours a week or more receive health care benefits with 100 percent of the monthly premium covered.
Does AmeriCorps offer housing assistance?
Some of the AmeriCorps programs in Minnesota offer discounted housing options. You should ask your individual program about whether they offer assistance or housing, and if so, how to get it.
How can I take a gap year in AmeriCorps after high school?
Many high school graduates take a gap year to serve in AmeriCorps between high school graduation and college (or whatever is next). Do you want to learn more? Watch our video about Why You Should Do a Gap Year in AmeriCorps or read about a high school graduate who took an AmeriCorps gap year after graduation.
Can I serve in AmeriCorps part-time? Or in the summer only?
Yes. Some AmeriCorps programs offer summer-only positions. Most programs offer part-time and full-time opportunities.
How can serving in AmeriCorps help build my skills?
We offer service opportunities that will build your professional skills and knowledge in a wide array of areas. Some of the top areas of expertise to build through service are in education, public policy, health policy, social justice, human resources, technology, the environment, law enforcement and more. No matter which program you choose, AmeriCorps will help you develop the soft skills that employers are looking for - e.g., teamwork, leadership, verbal and written communication, problem solving, and adaptability.
Which organizations can apply for AmeriCorps program grants?
Multi-state, state, local and tribal grantees recruit, train and manage AmeriCorps members in direct service and capacity building activities to address unmet community needs in six focus areas: education, healthy futures, clean energy/environment, veterans and military families, disaster services, and economic opportunity. AmeriCorps members help organizations expand services, build capacity, develop partnerships, leverage resources, create sustainable programs, and recruit and manage other volunteers. Each year, AmeriCorps members serve with thousands of nonprofit, faith-based, and community organizations, helping them expand their reach and better meet their mission. These powerful service experiences also help AmeriCorps members develop lifelong civic engagement.
Are you part of an organization that would like to apply for an AmeriCorps grant? Please visit our "Grants" section to learn about the requirements, application process and deadlines.