Eligibility for returning AmeriCorps Members: It’s Complicated

SO, let’s say you’re an AmeriCorps member, and you’re interested in applying to Public Allies.  It’s a bit complicated, but let me try to break it down.

First, keep in mind that AmeriCorps is comprised of different “streams of service.”  The dominant ones are AmeriCorps State, AmeriCorps National, VISTA and National Civilian Conservation Corps (NCCC).   So if you’ve done an AmeriCorps term of service, odds are you served within one of those streams.  For the record, Public Allies is considered an AmeriCorps State and/or AmeriCorps National Program. Ok, you ready?  Here we go:

  1. You could serve up to a total 3 Full Time AmeriCorps Terms – as an AmeriCorps State, as an AmeriCorps National or as a National Civilian Conservation Corps or VISTA.  BUT —
  2. You can only do 2 years of service as an AmeriCorps State or AmeriCorps National member.  Therefore, if you wanted to do a 3rd year, you could do it only as either a VISTA or NCCC’er.
  3. However, if you did 2 years of NCCC, then you CAN do 1 more year of the following: AC State, AC National or VISTA
  4. AND, if you did 2 years of VISTA, you CAN do 1 more year of:  AC State, AC National or NCCC.
  5. Finally, if you choose to do a 3rd year of National Service, you do not get an Ed Award that year.  In short, Uncle Sam is only on the hook for payin’ out 2 Ed Awards.

So, hypothetically — if you’ve done 2 years of VISTA, you could do Public Allies.  If you’ve done 2 years of NCCC, then you could do Public Allies.  If you’ve done one year of each, you could still do Public Allies.  Keep in mind though, you won’t get an Ed Award for the 3rd (Public Allies) year.  Also be mindful that you can only do TWO AmeriCorps State and/or National terms.  That means you could do 1 AC State + 1 AC National, 2 AC State or 2 AC National terms.

Finally, let’s say you just did part of a year and had to withdraw for personal reasons, or were just straight out terminated from your AmeriCorps position for cause.  In the eyes of Uncle Sam, that’s considered to be a “Full Term.”  So be aware that if you’ve already had two “partial” terms, you’re only eligible to do one more “full” year.


8 Responses to “Eligibility for returning AmeriCorps Members: It’s Complicated”

  1. Diane Says:

    So you’re a traffic cop TOO? I am impressed. Thanks for your help navigating this issue.

  2. William Says:

    I’ve served as a four-month summer VISTA member (full-time), and also as a full-year AmeriCorps State member (half-time)… I should still be eligible to apply for Public Allies. if I’m not mistaken. Right?

    Also, in the eligiblity section of the online app., if I put that I have enrolled in 2 (or more) programs, it tells me my application is “incomplete” and I cannot submit… any suggestions?

  3. macarthura Says:


    I just talked with our AmeriCorps Regs gurus and this is what they tell me:

    “The answer to the first question is yes, he’s eligible for another state/national term however if he’s already received two ed awards he wouldn’t be eligible for a third. If he has received two prior ed awards, he can still participate in the program and receive all AC benefits except for the ed award.”

    In terms of applying, we’ll work on addressing that so it will let others like yourself apply. In the meantime, cite that you have enrolled in 1 AC program so it will allow you to complete the Application, but somewhere in one of your answer fields, please note this situation so our local staff can be aware of your special situation.

  4. Mel LeBaron Says:

    I’ve served two AmeriCorps terms – would forbearance still be allowed on student loans if I applied to be a part of Public Allies?

    • macarthura Says:

      Hi Mel –

      If you’re accepted by Public Allies to serve a 3rd AmeriCorps term, then:
      you would eligible to apply for loan forbearance, as defined by AmeriCorps:
      Individuals who are serving in a term of service in an approved AmeriCorps position may be eligible to temporarily postpone the repayment of their qualified student loans through an action called loan forbearance. While your loan is in forbearance during your term of service, interest continues to accrue. However,If you successfully complete your term of service the National Service Trust will pay all or a portion of the interest that accrued on your qualified student loans during your service period.

      Hope that answers your question!


  5. Alexis Says:

    Hi, Thank you so much for this information!! I realize this is a bit redundant, but I just want to double check. I did 1 year AC VISTA, and 1 year AC State, so I could still do 1 year Public Allies, right? I know I wouldn’t get the education award for this third year. Thanks!

  6. Alexis Says:

    PS- And, if I did that third year with Public Allies, I would receive all the other AmeriCorps benefits including health insurance, right? Thank you 🙂

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