Education Award FAQ
Education Award Questions
- Who do I contact if I have a question about my Education Voucher, Loan Forbearance, or Interest Accrual?
- Does my educational voucher award count against my financial aid?
- How can I use my education award?
- How long do I have before my Education Award expires?
- How do I access my Education Award if my maiden name has changed?
- How long do I have to wait to receive my Education award voucher?
- How many Education Awards can I earn?
Federal Student Loans and Voucher
- What are qualified student loans?
- What are examples of some qualified student loans?
- Are there disadvantages to consolidating my student loans before the end of my year of service?
Taxes and the Education Voucher
Overseas use of Education Voucher
- Is there an overseas equivalent to Title IV schools?
- I want to use my Education Award to enroll in an intensive Spanish program in Central or South America. How do I go about doing this?
- Can the institution include travel in its cost and reimburse me if I study overseas?
Other Uses of the Education Voucher
- Can I use my Education Award to take non-conventional courses such as Silversmithing/Jewelry, Yoga Classes, Rock-Climbing and/or Kaplan etc?
- How do I know if I can use my Education Award for taking continuing education certificate program courses online at a particular institution of higher education?
- I can use my Education Award for transportation expenses-does that mean I can make my car payment with it?
- Can I use the Education Award to pay for books? How exactly can I use my Education Award to pay for books?
Other General Education Award Questions
- If I don't plan on going back to school, and I don't have any student loans to pay back, can my Education Award be refunded to me as cash?
- What are some other useful links regarding effective use of my Education award?
Who do I contact if I have a question about my Education Voucher, Loan Forbearance, or Interest Accrual?
While you can review the information in the Education Award Tutorial, however, it may be best that you contact the financial aid office on your campus. For a more detailed explanation or for specific questions about your Education Voucher, Loan Forbearance, or Interest Accrual please contact the National Service Trust at 1 -(888) -507-5962 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Before, during, and after your term of service with SIS your educational voucher award will not count against your financial aid award; however, once you actually use your educational voucher, after you have completed your SIS term of service, then there may be ramifications against your financial aid award. Please contact your Financial Aid Representative to talk about the best strategy for using your education award.
Also a good resource to review is to review the Ed Award handout link.
The education award can be used to repay qualified federal student loans or toward the cost of attendance at a Title IV institute of higher education. Please contact your financial aid representative to determine what cost of attendance means for your college or university.
Your education award is valid for 7 years, effective the date your service ends and you are officially exited from the program by an SIS official.
You can update your personal information on your My AmeriCorps Online Account. You can also contact the National Service Trust at 1 (888) 507-5962 or email@example.com to request an update of your name in the National Trust records.
Once you have sent in all your exit paperwork and once the SIS staff officially exits you out of the SIS program your, Education Award voucher will immediately show up in your My AmeriCorps account.
You can earn a maximum of four Education Awards; regardless of the type of AmeriCorps program/combination you enroll in. (VISTA, NCCC, State, National, part- or full-time, etc.) However, you can not complete more than 2.0 MSY (member service years) in a lifetime.
You can use your education award to pay qualified student loans you have or may acquire. Qualified student loans are basically defined as student loans backed by the federal government, except for loans in your parent’s names. These loans also include those made to students by a state agency, such as the Alaska Commission on Higher Education, and loans issued through a state institution of higher education to cover all or part of a student’s cost of attendance.
If you do not know whether or not your loans are qualified, you should ask your lenders. For federally-backed loans, there should be a citation on the loan papers referring to Title IV of the Higher Education Act. For loans made by a state agency, the state agency should be listed as the “maker” of the loan on the promissory note. When a loan is refinanced or consolidated, the new loan must meet the definition of “qualified student loan” in order for a payment to be made using an education award. The original loan no longer exists.
Federal Student Loans: Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford Loans –Supplemental Loans to Students (SLS) – Federal Consolidated Loans – Guaranteed Student Loans – Federally Insured Student Loans (FISL) – Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Stafford – Direct Subsidized and Unsubsidized Ford Loans – Direct Consolidated Loans – National Defense Student Loan –
National Direct Student Loans – Perkins Loans – Health Education Assistance Loans (HEAL) – Health Professions Student Loans (HPSL) – Loans for Disadvantaged Students (LDS) – Nursing Student Loans (NSL) – Primary Care Loans (PCL).
Loans made directly to students by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education.
Loans made directly to students in degree programs by a state college or university.
There can be some disadvantages to consolidating your loans before the end of your service year.
- Consolidation Lenders won't necessarily accept the interest accrual form, thus making you responsible for payment of accrued interest.
- Some consolidation lenders do not offer forbearance to members of national service
In order to decrease complications it may be best to postpone consolidation until after you've completed your Term of Service. Wait until after the interest is paid, then consolidate.
You will get a 1099 at the end of the year for any amount of your award that you use in that calendar year. Awards and interest payments are only subject to taxes once you use the award.
There are certain tax breaks you can now get for education expenses. This is a great benefit. There is information on the AmeriCorps website at: http://www.americorps.gov/for_individuals/benefits/benefits_ed_ award_taxes.asp.
No. Since the Title IV is United States Federal Code there is not an overseas equivalent. However, there are many foreign schools that are eligible to receive Title IV funds such as Stafford Loan and Pell grants. Search for a complete list at www.fafsa.ed.gov/fotw0607/fslookup.htm. Search for the school under “foreign country”. The following page will have a long list of schools that qualify.
I want to use my Education Award to enroll in an intensive Spanish program in Central or South America. How do I go about doing this?
If you are currently enrolled at a Title IV school in the United States you can enroll in a study abroad program. Especially if your school has a consortium agreement with an intensive language program in South America, but make sure the school abroad is Title IV.
You can also enter into an internship agreement with a current school. If the school is Title IV, then typically you can use your Education Award there. For a list of foreign schools that accept Title IV funding visit: www.fafsa.ed.gov/fotw0607/fslookup.htm Select the search option, and then select 'foreign country' when prompted to enter a state.
Yes, travel is normally a Cost of Attendance expense if you are enrolled at least half time or greater status.
Can I use my Education Award to take non-conventional courses such as Silversmithing/Jewelry, Yoga Classes, Rock-Climbing and/or Kaplan etc?
You can use your Education Award to enroll in 'non-conventional' courses so long as the courses are offered through a Title IV institution.
How do I know if I can use my Education Award for taking continuing education certificate program courses online at a particular institution of higher education?
You have to check with the school and verify that the class you take is a regular class, and not what they call a 'recreation education' course. Also, make sure the school has a Title IV status.
I can use my Education Award for transportation expenses-does that mean I can make my car payment with it?
No. When transportation expenses are calculated as part of the cost of attendance, transportation is referring to gas, bus tickets, and other minor monthly expenses used to get around.
Can I use the Education Award to pay for books? How exactly can I use my Education Award to pay for books?
Yes, you can. Books typically fall under the “Cost of Attendance”. When you receive your Education Award take it to your Financial Aid Officer and he/she will fill out the Financial Aid office section of the voucher and mail it in to the National Service Trust.
If I don't plan on going back to school, and I don't have any student loans to pay back, can my Education Award be refunded to me as cash?
No, you cannot have the Education Award refunded to you as cash.