December 7, 2008

Help others and yourself with the Peace Corp and AmeriCorps

The Peace Corps and AmeriCorps are volunteer programs that give you the opportunity to help others. Recent college graduates or retired senior citizens are some of the people who might be in a situation to volunteer for either program. In addition to making a difference in the world both programs have financial benefits to the volunteers. One of the benefits is deferment and possible forgiveness of student loan debt.

So instead of becoming a Walmart greeter after you retire or serving coffee at Starbucks when college is done you might consider joining one of these programs. Maybe you're in your 30's to 50's and simply want to do something different and make a difference in the world. Whatever your situation both programs offer lots of opportunity to help others.

Peace Corps

Peace Corp volunteers serve for 27 months. The location will be over seas. The work varies and includes things like: teaching, building irrigation or making a computer center.

While you serve you get 100% free medical coverage, a living allowance so you can live at the level of the country you're in and deferral for your student loans. You may also be eligible for forgiveness of some student loan debt. When you return from your trip you get $6000 stipend.

So basically your bills are paid while you're away and then you get $6,000 when you come back.

AmeriCorps

This program is very similar to the Peace Corps but you serve in the U.S. There are a variety of volunteer programs where you serve with local volunteer organizations. Members serve full or part time for 10-12 months.

AmeriCorp volunteers get a living allowance. The allowance varies but I found one source stating in California that the rate was in the $10,000 to $20,000 annually. You also get deferral for student loans. After 1 year of service you'll be eligible for an education awarded of $4,725 that you can use towards education expenses or repaying college loans. You may also qualify for student loan forgiveness.

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