AmeriCorps FAQs

Applicants and Members

Explain to me the different types of 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 18-24, that strengthens communities while developing leaders through direct, team-based national and community service. Learn more about AmeriCorps NCCC.

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

Yes, basically. AmeriCorps is a national network of hundreds of programs across the nation.

Two of these programs are managed nationally: AmeriCorps VISTA and AmeriCorps NCCC.

The other program under the general heading of AmeriCorps State & National, also referred to simply as AmeriCorps, funds local and national organizations throughout the United States to recruit AmeriCorps members. 

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.

I’m trying to help recruit volunteers or participants to my program. Where can I order brochures or other promotional materials?

I’m interested in ordering AmeriCorps service gear such as T-shirts and sweatshirts. Where do I place my order?

Visit the National Service Catalog where you can purchase identity items online or download an order form.

I am currently participating in AmeriCorps and have a question about my Education Award. Who should I contact?

For general questions about the Education Award and student loan deferment, contact National Service Trust at 1-800-942-2677. If you have successfully completed your AmeriCorps service, you can view your AmeriCorps Education Award account balance and activity online.

To request a copy of your AmeriCorps Education Award voucher or report a change of address, you can visit

For general information on student financial assistance, you may contact your high school guidance counselor, the financial aid officer at the post-secondary institution you plan to attend, the Federal Student Aid Information Center.

Will I get any training before I start?

Yes, all members receive training at the beginning of their service, as well as project-specific training during service.

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, please visit the Forbearance IBR page.

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. For more information, please visit our Postponement page. 

What skills do I need to have?

Some programs have specific skill requests in certain areas, and others look for a bachelor's degree or a few years of related volunteer/job experience. For others, your motivation and commitment may be the primary requirement.

Is there an age requirement?

To be eligible for AmeriCorps State and National, a participant must be at least 17 years of age or be an out-of-school youth 16 years of age at the commencement of service, and has not left school to join AmeriCorps.

To be eligible for AmeriCorps VISTA or AmeriCorps NCCC, applicants need to be over 18 years old when they start their service. For those applying to be a Team Leader, there is no upper age limit. 

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.

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.

Do I get paid?

Full-time AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance for service and health care. Part-time positions may provide a living allowance or they may not. All AmeriCorps members who successfully complete a term of service also receive an AmeriCorps Education Award.

Is AmeriCorps like Peace Corps?

Yes. AmeriCorps is often referred to as "the domestic Peace Corps." Both agencies are committed to service, and both offer challenging and rewarding full-time opportunities. Peace Corps assignments are all overseas, and AmeriCorps members serve only in the US. While Peace Corps Volunteers serve for two years, a stint in AmeriCorps usually lasts 10 months to one year. (Some AmeriCorps projects also offer part-time opportunities, and some AmeriCorps members serve more than one term of service.)


Grantees, Sponsors, and Organizations

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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