SCA AmeriCorps and the Education Award

Overseen by the Corporation for National and Community Service (Corporation), AmeriCorps is a network of organizations that offer opportunities for people to dedicate themselves to a long-term service project such as tutoring and mentoring youth, building affordable housing, cleaning parks and streams, and recruiting, training, and managing community volunteers. In return, AmeriCorps members receive funds they can use for education.

SCA receives a grant from the Corporation to administer an AmeriCorps Education Award program for our members. Under this grant, interns that complete service satisfactorily can receive an AmeriCorps Education Award of $1,175-$5,550, which can be applied to education-related expenses.  Please note that the SCA AmeriCorps program is a grant program contingent upon federal funding. SCA receives a set number of allotments in the AmeriCorps program each year.  Once those allotments have been used, no further awards will be available for the year.

Overview

  1. The partner submits a position request that meets AmeriCorps criteria.
  2. If allotments are available, the intern will have an opportunity to apply to become an SCA AmeriCorps member.
  3. Both the intern and the partner will have paperwork and training requirements to complete before, during, and after the position.
  4. Upon successful completion of the position and related requirements, the intern receives the education award.

Education Awards

The AmeriCorps Education Award is a sum of money members can receive after successfully completing their service. Members are able to use this award to pay for expenses at qualified institutions of higher education, for educational training, or to repay qualified student loans. Upon selection to a position, members are offered an award relative to their length of service. Members who choose to enroll in AmeriCorps sign an agreement confirming that they will complete both their term of service and their minimum number of hours. SCA AmeriCorps terms of service and corresponding awards are as follows:

  • $1,175 - 300 minimum service hours for positions 8-11 weeks
  • $1,468 - 450 minimum service hours for positions 12-23 weeks
  • $2,775 - 900 minimum service hours for positions 24-44 weeks
  • $5,550 - 1700 minimum service hours for positions 45-52 weeks

Partner Responsibilities Under AmeriCorps

While members are responsible for meeting most of the AmeriCorps requirements, there are a few expectations for partners who choose to participate in this program. Our relationship with AmeriCorps and the Corporation is an important aspect of our Conservation Internship Program and we appreciate your support in meeting the compliance and evaluation requirements.  As a partner in the SCA AmeriCorps program, please make sure you are willing to:

  • Set up your position’s duties and activities to be AmeriCorps-eligible. As a federal program AmeriCorps has specific requirements and prohibited activities. If your position meets these requirements it will be “AmeriCorps-eligible”.
  • Complete the SCA AmeriCorps Site Agreement once per year. This requirement under our federal AmeriCorps grant outlines the expectations for partners. Download it at this link.
  • Participate in the SCA AmeriCorps webinar training once per year. This training is conducted regularly via a pre-recorded webinar available online at your convenience.
  • Approve your member’s submitted time logs. Approve your member’s time logs — both Activity Logs and Output Logs — in your MySCA Partner Portal on a regular basis. For more information, visit the Time Logs section of this manual.
  • Verify that member service hours do not include prohibited activities. Members are not allowed to be involved with AmeriCorps prohibited activities. See below for a complete list of prohibited activities. Members may participate in these activities as private citizens on non-SCA/AmeriCorps time and should not identify themselves with the SCA AmeriCorps program.
  • Complete Mid-term and End-of-Term Evaluations. All SCA members need completed Mid-term and End-of-Term Evaluations on file. This requirement is especially important for AmeriCorps members as it determines SCA’s future eligibility for AmeriCorps grants nationwide.
  • Support members to complete their service commitment and minimum hours. Except in compelling personal circumstances (outlined below), members who leave the program early forfeit their education award. Leaving positions early for paid work is not considered an acceptable reason for a member to leave early. Please encourage members to complete their service commitment.
  • Support members who want to attend national service events locally. There may be AmeriCorps-sponsored events periodically in your state or region. Members are encouraged to attend if their schedule allows. These hours can be recorded on their AmeriCorps timesheets under “Training/Education”.

AmeriCorps Health Insurance

AmeriCorps members serving longer than 17 weeks are offered health insurance by SCA in accordance with AmeriCorps policy.  At this time, the required insurance does not meet the minimum requirements of the Affordable Healthcare Act (AHA) and members that accept this coverage are advised that they could be subject to a financial penalty under AHA.  AmeriCorps has requested an AHA exemption for its members, but that request has not yet been approved.

Previously, SCA offered non-AmeriCorps members the same health insurance benefits.  However, due to lack of compliance with AHA, this coverage is no longer available to non-AmeriCorps members.  Please check with your Coordinator regarding the current status of this health insurance provision.

AmeriCorps Grievance Procedure

SCA has both informal and formal grievance procedures for SCA AmeriCorps members and external individuals who bring grievances to the SCA AmeriCorps program. The full grievance procedure can be downloaded here or on our website at http://jointhesca.org/group/americorps/page/partner-orientation-webinar-….

AmeriCorps Prohibited Activities

SCA is committed to ensuring that all partners and members are knowledgeable of the activities prohibited by AmeriCorps. AmeriCorps prohibited activities include: partisan political activities, political advocacy, protests, petitions, strikes, union activities, religious proselytization, for-profit business, abortion services, and general fundraising. The complete list of AmeriCorps prohibited activities can be downloaded here or on our website.  Please contact your Coordinator for questions about the SCA AmeriCorps program. The following contacts are also available for additional support related to AmeriCorps:

  • AmeriCorps Manager at SCA: Kate Hagner (603) 543-1700 x1133
  • AmeriCorps Coordinator at SCA: Sofia Angelo (603) 543-1700 x1367

Kate or Sofia can also be reached at AmeriCorps@theSCA.org.