RPCV Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT), Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS), and Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-CT) have introduced four bills that, taken together, emphasize access to service for people of all ages.
The legislators have called their initiative the Service for All Ages Initiative and it includes:
The Summer of Service Act would offer students making the transition from middle to high school an opportunity to participate in a structured community service program over the summer months. 100 hours of service would earn participants a $500 education award. The Summer of Service Act was considered by the House last Congress as part of the GIVE Act.
The Semester of Service Act would provide juniors and seniors in high school with the opportunity to serve their communities and receive academic credit under a service-learning. Service would underscore student learning because the program would tie service activities to state learning objectives.
The AmeriCorps: Together Improving our Nation (ACTION) Act would make college and graduate school more affordable for many people by “updating the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to reflect the past 15 years of college tuition increases.” The act would also ensure that AmeriCorps members get to keep their entire education award by making it tax exempt. Currently an AmeriCorps Alumni earning more than $32K could only use 75 percent of the government-issued scholarship rewarded for national service participation (the rest goes to Uncle Sam). The education award can be used to pay down student loan debt as well as for current tuition needs at eligible schools.
The AARP-endorsed Encore Service Act would provide U.S. people 55 years and older with opportunities to serve their communities and would launch the Encore Fellows program to place older people in one-year leadership roles with nonprofit organizations. In return for their service, participants would receive an education award which could be transferred to their children or grandchildren—something older AmeriCorps members have been begging for, for years.
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