Roosevelt Scholarship Would Offer Students Funding in Exchange for Public Service Commitment

New College, photo from Anne.Oeldorf's Flickr stream

New College, from Anne.Oeldorf's Flickr stream

Update, July 30, 2009: Representatives David Price (D-NC) and Michael Castle (R-DE) introduced the Roosevelt Scholars Act of 2009 in the House.

The Roosevelt Scholars Act aims to create a new pipeline to public service careers for graduate students who are developing skills desperately needed by the federal government.

The Roosevelt Scholars Act, which was introduced last year in the House of Representatives but not yet during this year’s 111th Congress, would create a scholarship program to fund graduate education for students who demonstrate outstanding potential for a career in a mission-critical occupational area within the federal government, and who in turn would commit to three to five years of service in a federal government agency. The scholarship would would be similar to ROTC, but instead of committing to military service, students would commit to Federal government service.

Rep. David Price (D-NC) is planning to introduce the legislation in the House before the August recess. (Last year, he and RPCV Rep. Chris Shays (R-CT) introduced the legislation; Shays was not reelected last November.)

The Act would establish a small foundation called the Theodore Roosevelt Scholarship Foundation to administer the scholarships, including tuition and living expenses. Scholarships could amount to as much as $60,000 per student per Continue reading

Income Based Repayment and Public Service Loan Forgiveness are Here!

Anne.Oeldorf's Flickr Photostream

Anne.Oeldorf's Flickr Photostream

The College Cost Reduction and Access Act of 2007 officially goes into effect today, July 1st, and income-based repayment (IBR) applications are now available from many major lenders, including the U.S. Department of Education.

According to IBRinfo.org, you should contact your lender directly to apply for IBR.

Also, take a look at the resources mentioned in this post as well as IBRInfo.org’s FAQ.

According to IBRInfo.org, if you have exhausted other avenues and still face “serious problems” applying for IBR, Continue reading

Idealist Graduate Admissions Fairs – Next Week in Washington DC and New York

Social impact professionals at all stages in their careers get a chance to meet representatives from a school 2 and seekerrange of public-service focused grad schools next week in DC and New York. The events are free, after work, and include information sessions.

Idealist’s 2009 season of Graduate Degree Fairs for the Public Good launches next week in Washington, DC, and New York.

These events are unique among graduate admissions fairs in that they are completely geared toward degree areas that our Idealist network is looking for—ranging from nonprofit and business management to public policy and social work. Education, divinity, public health, and Continue reading

What Happened to Getting Rid of the Taxes on the Education Award?

Institutions that Match the Ed AwardWhen the various bills that became the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act were in play, there was talk about eliminating the taxes from the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.

In case you are new to national service, the education award is the post-service benefit received by AmeriCorps and VISTA members that can help them pay for educational expenses and/or student loans. It’s considered taxable income.

It was never the Kennedy bill but rather a separate bill introduced by Senator Dodd of Connecticut that would have ended the tax on the education award. Late in the process, elements of Dodd’s national service bills were incorporated into the Serve America Act. However, the elimination of the taxes on the education award was not one of those elements. The tax remains.

I called Senator’s Dodd office last week and asked a staffer if there were any plans to follow through with Continue reading

Low-Income, High-Debt Program for Student Borrowers Starts in July

When I first heard about the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program that cancels student loandebt after 10 years for nonprofit workers, I wasn’t that excited. My thinking was that many student loans are on a 10 or 15 year repayment schedule and the savings wouldn’t be that substantial.

Income Based Repayment Calculator

Income Based Repayment Calculator

I changed my tune big time when I learned about a second program called Income-Based Repayment (IBR) that works in tandem with public service loan forgiveness. Designed to assist low income/high debt student borrowers, IBR lets people making AmeriCorps/VISTA/grassroots nonprofit-level wages make student loan payments as small as 0-$5 per month (based on income) and those payments count toward the 10 years needed for borrowers to get their larger debt forgiven.

The reason I write this now is that the Income Based Repayment program begins next month. If you are interested, first learn more about it, then search for it on your lender’s website and apply for the program online.

Finaid. org offers a really great calculator that shows how much you might save (or not) using these programs versus a standard loan repayment program. Even if you’re income is higher than average for the nonprofit field, the program could offer substantial savings.

I also prepared a two-page draft document on the information most relevant to members serving in AmeriCorps or VISTA. Like I said, this is a draft document and I will be revising and simplifying it as my understanding of these programs evolves.

You can also take a look at this post about the College Cost Reduction and Access Act that offers some basic facts and resources.