Coons, Cassidy celebrate AmeriCorps Week, recognize members' service
Sens. Chris Coons, D-Delaware; Bill Cassidy, R-Louisiana; Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio; and Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, along with Reps. Doris Matsui, D-California; David Price, D-North Carolina, and Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma, introduced new legislation during 2020 AmeriCorps Week to strengthen the Segal AmeriCorps Award that helps make service a financial possibility for many Americans.
The Educational Award Parity Act ensures that all AmeriCorps members older than 55 who earn an education award are able to transfer it to a family member regardless of the program through which they served.
The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award is a post-service benefit earned by individuals who complete approved service terms in AmeriCorps programs and may be used to pay qualified educational expenses or to repay student loans for oneself or on behalf of a family member. Members of AmeriCorps State & National programs older than 55 have the right to transfer their awards to certain family members. This flexibility provides them an opportunity to use the awards to cover their own educational expenses or those of certain family members, like a child of the member, making it possible for older Americans with financial obligations to their families to participate in national service. In doing so, it helps reduce the barrier that financial obligations pose to participation in national service. The bill is endorsed by Voices for National Service, Habitat for Humanity and Teach For America.
“As someone who worked with AmeriCorps from its inception in 1994, I’ve witnessed the incredible impact AmeriCorps members bring to their communities,” said Coons. “I’m proud that we have brought together so many leaders of Congress to recognize their contributions and ensure they receive their well-earned benefits.”
Additionally, Coons and Cassidy celebrate the passage of an annual resolution honoring the contributions of AmeriCorps members and alumni to the lives of Americans in honor of 2020 AmeriCorps Week. More than 75,000 Americans serve communities across the country through AmeriCorps programs each year, totaling more than one million AmeriCorps alumni since the program's founding in 1994.