NY Times Editorial Voices Strong Support for AmeriCorps

The NY Times logoSaturday, a New York Times editorial argued strongly for full funding of the Kennedy Serve America Act — the appropriation for which will be considered this week in the Senate.

Last week, the House of Representatives appropriated $90M less to implement the Kennedy Serve America Act than Pres. Obama requested in his proposed budget. In response, The New York Times printed an editorial urging Congress to fund the Act which was passed into law in April and could greatly expand the AmeriCorps family of programs and the number Continue reading

Applications to AmeriCorps Increase, but a House Committee Doesn’t Come Through with Funding

While AmeriCorps applications are seeing a steep rise, the Corporation for National and Community Service is climbing an uphill battle for funding.

According to an unpublished Corporation report, discussed by Tim Zimmerman on today’s Change/Wire, the blog of the Service Nation campaign:

•    In June 2009, [the Corporation for National and Community Service] received 34,373 online AmeriCorps applications, nearly triple the 11,814 online applications received in June of 2008. Continue reading

Yellow Ribbon Program Makes School More Affordable for Vets

Military service member saluting the U.S. flagThe Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008 created a new way to help members of the military pay for school.

Currently the the Post-9/11 GI Bill pays up to the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees. However, if you’re heading to a private college, going to grad school, and/or are not qualified to pay in-state tuition, your expenses may exceed the GI Bill benefit. The Yellow Ribbon Program — taking effect at participating schools on August 1st, 2009 — attempts to close the gap between GI Bill education benefits, and the true cost of many educational opportunities.

As part of the Yellow Ribbon Program, schools can volunteer to contribute up to 50 percent of that gap between their own costs and the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition and fees. The government then matches the school’s Continue reading

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

The House Approves $450M for More Peace Corps, but Senate Committee Approves $373.4M

Rep. Nita Lowey, Chair, House Appropriations Cmte

Rep. Nita Lowey, Chair, House Appropriations Cmte

A few weeks ago, the House Appropriations Committee recommended increasing Peace Corps funding to $450 million. Thursday, the House voted to approve funding at that level. The same day, the Senate Appropriations Committee voted to match Obama’s more modest $373.4M budget request for the agency.

While the Corporation for National and Community Service — the agency that coordinates and oversees the AmeriCorps family of service programs — had a disappointing day in a House subcommittee yesterday, Peace Corps won a huge increase in funding as its supporters in the House defeated an amendment that would have only moderately increased funding for the agency in the fiscal year 2010.

The increase — if matched in the Senate — would mean Peace Corps could start ramping up Volunteer numbers, as Obama has called for doubling Peace Corps by the agency’s 50th anniversary in 2011.

According to the National Peace Corps Association’s blog the Peace Corps Polyglot: Continue reading

House Subcommittee Rejects Full Funding of the Kennedy Serve America Act

David Obey (D-WI), Chair House Appropriations Subcommittee

David Obey (D-WI), Chair House Appropriations Subcommittee

Update, July 17th: The full House Appropriations Markup on the 2010 Labor, Health, and Education Appropriations Bill maintained the subcommittee’s recommendation to fund the Corporation for National and Community Service at $90 M less than Obama’s requested budget amount.

The House Appropriations subcommittee disappointed service supporters yesterday by offering a lower funding figure than needed to implement the Kennedy Serve America Act.

The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, Health & Human Services, Education and Related Agencies approved only $1,059,016,000 in funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) as a part of the fiscal year 2010 appropriations bill.

This figure is $90 million short of the President’s full budget request of $1.149 billion, and does not fully fund the Edward Kennedy Serve America Act. Implementation of the Act is dependent on appropriations, but the Appropriations Continue reading

New, Stimulus-funded AmeriCorps Programs Getting Off the Ground

New short-term AmeriCorps programs, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, are getting off the ground.

President Obama signed his stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, on February 17th, 2009. It included additional $201 million in funding for the Corporation for National and Community Service for AmeriCorps State and National, and AmeriCorps VISTA programs.

Funding has gone to existing programs to increase the number of open positions, and it’s also gone to organizations already running AmeriCorps programs, to create brand-new, short-term corps.

One example of a new stimulus-funded AmeriCorps program is the Oregon Community Action Corps — now accepting applications for 24 full-time AmeriCorps positions serving throughout the state of Oregon. OCAC will operate out of the American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter here in Portland, which also operates the state’s largest AmeriCorps State program, the Oregon State Service Corps and our largest VISTA program Clara Barton VISTA Corps (both are currently recruiting, also).

AmeriCorps members with the Oregon Community Action Corps (OCAC) serve individually or in small teams at Continue reading