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ACCESSING AND USING YOUR SEGAL EDUCATION AWARD VOUCHER* (*The information below is effective 8/29/2006. It appears that the National Service Trust is still putting institutions and qualified loan holders into the system at this time, therefore the paper system outlined on the following page will continue to work until all payment options are available. The MTCC Network Office will share further details as soon as they are available.) Send in all exit paperwork within two weeks of the date you complete your hours. Mark on your calendar 6 to 8 weeks from the date you submitted your exit paperwork; this is the expected electronic arrival of your voucher. Sign up for a PIN and Password at: http://www.americorps.gov/for_individuals/online/index.asp to view the status of your Education Award, make payments and print copies of your voucher. You can visit the website by clicking on the button labeled “Check Ed Award Status (online)” in the Education Award/FAQs section of the Member Resource Disc. Confirm all the information on your voucher once you have logged on. If any information is incorrect call or e-mail The National Service Trust at 1(888) 507-5962 or firstname.lastname@example.org Decide whether you want to use your voucher for outstanding qualified student loans or toward the Cost of Attendance at a Title IV institution. Once logged in to your account, click on the “Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Payment Request” tab on the left hand side of the screen. a. Using the pull down menu, select the payment type (Loan payment or education expenses) you would like to make. b. Decide how much of your Education Award you want to send to the institution and type it into the b “Amount Authorized” space (remember you do not have to use all of your Education Award at once). c. Click on “Search for Institution” on the Institution Information button below, and using this tool find the institution that will receive the payment. d. Once you have found the correct institution or loan holder, select them by clicking on the name. e. Authorize the payment by clicking the appropriate box, and certify that you have received a high school diploma and have not been convicted of possession or sale of a controlled substance since the completion of your service. f. Finally, click “submit” to send payment. The information below applies only to making hardcopy payment requests to the National Service Trust, this option may become unavailable during the 2006/2007 year as the National Service Trust moves to a “paperless” system: Send in all exit paperwork within two weeks of the date you complete your hours. Mark on your calendar 6 to 8 weeks from the date you submitted your exit paperwork; this is the expected arrival of your hardcopy voucher. Once you have received a hardcopy of your voucher, you may choose to spend it on either educational expenses or to pay all or a portion of a student loan. Sign up for a PIN and Password at: http://www.americorps.gov/for_individuals/online/index.asp to view the status of your Education Award, make payments and print copies of your voucher. Confirm all the information on your voucher once you have logged on. If any information is incorrect call or e-mail The National Service Trust at 1(888) 507-5962 or email@example.com If you decide you want to pay educational expenses and you have received or have printed a hardcopy, bring your AmeriCorps Education Award Voucher and Payment Request Form to your institution’s financial aid office, choose the amount of the payment you would like to make, and the institution to which the payment will come, sign and submit the form to your financial aid officer. If you decide if you want your Education Award to go toward your loans, decide whether to apply to the principle balance (the amount of your loan) or to pay off the accumulated interest. Decide if you want to apply your Education Award toward advance payments or if you would like to continue to make monthly payments (if you decide to make monthly payments your interest will accumulate on a smaller amount of the principle). Write a letter to your lending institution (see “Sample Letter to Lenders” in section Education Award/FAQs). a. Include whether you want your Education Award to go toward the principle or interest. b. Include whether you want your Education Award applied to advance payments or continue to make monthly payments. Make copies of your letters and completed vouchers and keep copies for your records. Send letter and voucher to your lending institution, e.g. The Student Assistance Foundation, Montana State University, etc. using the CORRESPONDENCE ADDRESS not the payment address. Call your lender or institution in 2 weeks to confirm they have received your letter (mark on calendar). Mark on calendar 8 weeks from receiving confirmation from your lending institution, within 8 weeks your voucher should be approved by The National Service Trust. Check online to review status of your award. Once The National Service Trust has approved your request, they will send back a revised voucher form, indicating your remaining balance. If you have any questions about your award or you have not received your voucher within eight weeks, call or email The National Service Trust at 1 (888) 507-5962 or firstname.lastname@example.org. AMERICORPS – VOUCHER AND PAYMENT REQUEST FORM For AmeriCorps Member: SSN: Section A – TO BE COMPLETED BY AMERICORPS MEMBER – The AmeriCorps member must fill out the three items in Section A. A separate voucher must be completed for each payment authorized/requested. Then the voucher must be sent to the school or loan holder. AWARD INFORMATION as of Award Balance: Valid Until 07/31/2009 Current Balance in Account *(1) Indicate the amount of the payment that you request $____, ____. ___ I authorize the amount indicated above to be paid to the loan holder or educational institution named below. I certify that I have not been convicted, since the completion of my AmeriCorps service, of the possession or sale of a controlled substance. I further certify that I have received either a high school diploma or its equivalent (such as a GED). I understand that a knowing an willful false statement on this form can be punished by a fine or imprisonment or both under Section 1001 of Title 18, USC *(2) Signature of Member *(3) Today’s date: _____/_____/200 Month Day Year If you are unable to make this certification, please write to the National Service Trust to find out what you must do to be eligible to use the award SECTION B – TO BE COMPLETED BY SCHOOL OR LOAN HOLDER – The school or loan holder must complete and sign Section B. Fill out the appropriate portion depending upon whether the voucher is to repay a qualified student loan or to pay for current educational expenses. Include complete address where the payment should be mailed. Send. If this payment is for a QUALIFIED STUDENT LOAN, the loan holder must complete this section 1. 1. If this payment is for CURRENT EDCUATIONAL EXPENSES, the Title IV school of School-to-Work program Payoff Amount (add 30 days interest): 1. Amount for which student is eligible. All student aid, including $____,____.___ the educational award, cannot exceed the Cost of Attendance, or the allowed amount for non-degree program. 2. Type of Qualified student loan: A qualified student loan for the purposes of the Education Award is: $____,____.____ a)a loan made, insured, or quaranteed pursuant to Title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965, other than a loan to a parent of a student pursuant to section 428B of such ACT; 2. Title IV School Code (6 digits):_________________ b) any loan made pursuant to Title VII of VIII of the Public Health Service Act; and c) a loan determined by an institution of higher education to be necessary to cover a student’s cost of attendance at such an institution and made directly to students by a 3. School enrollment period upon which this amount is state agency based. By law, a payment is made in two equal installments; one at the beginning and one at the middle of the enrollment period. 3. If state agency made loan, name of agency: start date mid point The individual above ___ is a student in an eligible program at the institution listed below, which has in effect a Title IV Program Participation Agreement with the U.S. Department of Education. The organization listed below is the loan (which is defined as the original lender or Eligibility to participate in any of the Title IV programs has not been limited, suspended, or another person or organization to which the loan was subsequently sold, transferred, or terminated. Further, the number of students using an Education Award in the current assigned and which has a legally enforceable right to receive from the borrower). academic year is not more than 15% of the total student population. I certify that all of the information I have provided is true and correct. I understand that a knowing and willful false statement on this form can be punished by a fine or imprisonment or both under Section 1001 of Title 18, USC. Signature of authorized representative of the school or loan holder Telephone Number Printed or typed name and title of the representative Name of School or Loan Holder (Payee): Address City State Zip Code _ _ _ _ _ _-_ _ _ _ Federal Taxpayer ID Number MAIL VOUCHER TO: NATIONAL SERVICE TRUST/ CNCS; 1201 NEW YORK AVE N.W., WASHINGTON, D.C. 20525 SAMPLE LETTER TO LENDING INSTITUTION Citibank Student Loans 12345 Service Street Smalltown, USA 99999 August 1, 2007 To Whom It May Concern: Included with this letter is my AmeriCorps Education Award Voucher. I would like to apply ($1,000) of my voucher towards Loan Number (23). Please apply the designated amount to my principle balance only. I would like to continue making monthly payments, so please do NOT advance my future payments. Thank you, Your Name Social Security Number Address Phone Number Email SEGAL EDUCATION AWARD FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS How long do I have before my Education Award expires? Your Education Award is valid for 7 years, effective the date your service ends. How do I access my Education Award if my maiden name has changed? Contact the National Service Trust at 1 (888) 507-5962 or email@example.com to request an update of your name in the National Trust records. How do I request another copy of my Education Award if it has been lost or if I never received one? If you have questions about the status of your Education Award or need another copy, contact the National Service Trust at 1 (888) 507-5962 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Operators are available Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time. How long do I have to wait to receive my Education Award voucher? Once you have sent in all your exit paperwork, you should expect your Education Award voucher in the mail within 6-8 weeks. What student loans qualify? A “qualified student loan” is any federally backed student loan that is in your (the student’s) name. The technical definition of a qualified student loan is contained in the legislation of the National Service Trust. Additionally, any loan made directly to you by the Alaska Commission on Postsecondary Education is qualified. If you are unsure, ask your lending institution. Does the Education Award come to me or does it go directly to the Financial Aid office of my school? The Education Award is mailed to you. It is your responsibility to follow the steps to process your Award. You decide whether your Education Award should go to your Financial Aid office. If it does, then the Financial Aid officer will mail the voucher to the National Service Trust. Payment(s) will be made to your institution or lender, and any amount over $1500 will be issued in two equal installments to your institution or lender. Does the National Trust send me a new Education Award voucher after each use? Yes, you will receive a new voucher with your remaining balance each time a payment is made from your Education Award account. Do I have to complete a FASFA form in order to use my Education Award? No, completing a FASFA form is not required; however, completing the FAFSA form is required in order to receive additional financial aid you qualify for. Does the National Service Trust pay the interest accrued during my Term of Service? Yes, but only for Federal Student loans. As a part time member, the National Service Trust will pay a percentage based on your hours served. You will need to put your loans on forbearance at the start of your term and complete an interest accrual form at the end of your term. However, if your student loans are in deferment and not accruing interest the National Service Trust will not pay the interest. How many Education Awards can I earn? You can earn a maximum of two Education Awards; regardless of the type of AmeriCorps program/combination you enroll in. (VISTA, NCCC, State, National, part- or full-time, etc.) I recently consolidated my loan. Can I use my Education Award to pay the principle on one of my smaller loans instead of dividing the award to pay my monthly amount on the loan? It depends. Typically, lenders will apply the Education Award to the interest and payments, rather than principle. You will need to contact your lender to request your Education Award be applied to the principle only. Are there disadvantages to consolidating my student loans before the end of my year of service? There can be some disadvantages to consolidating your loans before the end of your service year. 1. Consolidation Lenders won't necessarily accept the Interest Accrual Form, thus making you responsible for payment of accrued interest. 2. Some consolidation lenders do not offer forbearance to members of National Service, In order to decrease complications postpone consolidation until after you've completed your term of service. Wait until after the interest is paid, then consolidate. If I am using the Education Award to pay for loans, is it better to A) use it all at once or B) use it monthly when my loan payments are due? It depends. Remember that the Education Award is taxable. This means if you use it all at once, you will be taxed all at once. To help distribute the tax burden, you can choose to use your Education Award over a period of several years. Also, if you are planning on going back to school, it is sometimes better to keep a little bit in case you need it for the Cost of Attendance at a Title IV school. Should I figure out my taxes before I use my Education Award to ensure that I don't get bumped into a higher tax bracket? You won't be able to reduce the total taxes you pay when using your Education Award, but you can reduce the large tax bill by redeeming your Education Award in multiple disbursements. Do this by making a copy of the Education Award and use part of it before the end of the calendar year (which corresponds to the tax year), and use the other part(s) after the beginning of the subsequent year. If you still have questions about how the Education Award will affect your taxes you should consult a CPA. Is there a way to receive a tax break? There are certain tax breaks you can now get for education expenses. This is a great benefit. There is information on the AmeriCorps website at: http://www.americorps.gov/for_individuals/benefits/benefits_ed_award_taxes.asp. Are taxes taken directly from the Education Award or am I responsible for making the payment at tax time? The tax is not automatically deducted from the Education Award. You are responsible for covering this cost. Education Award funds can only be used for Cost of Attendance at a Title IV school or repayment of prior loans. You must use other income sources to pay any tax burden. How will the award affect reporting on income tax return? You will get a 1099 at the end of the year for any amount of your Award that you use. Where can I find a listing of schools that accept the Education Award? Visit http://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cool. Enter your choices in the appropriate fields. Most importantly, check the “Title IV participating” box. Will the school I attend match or supplement the Education Award? Visit http://www.lifetimeofservice.org/?Education to see a list of schools that match or supplement the Education Award. Is there an overseas equivalent to Title IV schools? No. Since the Title IV is United States Federal Code there is not an overseas equivalent. However, there are many foreign schools that are eligible to receive Title IV funds such as Stafford Loans and Pell grants. Search for a complete list at www.fafsa.ed.gov/fotw0607/fslookup.htm. Select the school year, select search, then click next. On the next page, select “foreign country” and click next. I want to use my Education Award to enroll in an intensive Spanish program in Central or South America. How do I go about doing this? If you are currently enrolled at a Title IV school in the United States you can enroll in a study abroad program, especially if your school has a consortium agreement with an intensive language program in South America. Make sure the school abroad is Title IV. You can also enter into an internship agreement with a current school. If the school is Title IV, then typically you can use your Education Award there. For a list of foreign schools that accept Title IV funding visit: www.fafsa.ed.gov/fotw0607/fslookup.htm. Select the search option, and then select 'foreign country' when prompted to enter a state. Can the institution include travel in its cost and reimburse me if I study overseas? Yes, travel is normally a Cost of Attendance expense if enrollment status is at least half time or greater. Can I use my Education Award to take non-conventional courses such as Silversmithing/Jewelry, Yoga Classes, Rock-Climbing and/or Kaplan etc? You can use your Education Award to enroll in 'non-conventional' courses so long as the courses are offered through a Title IV institution. How do I know if I can use my Education Award for taking continuing education certificate program courses online at a particular institution of higher education? You have to check with the school and verify that the class you take is a regular class, and not what they call a 'recreation education' course. Also, make sure the school has Title IV status. May I tap into the Education Award prior to beginning school and, if not, can I rely on the Award to help me ASAP or as soon as I'm through with my service? You cannot 'tap into' the Education Award, however some schools are willing to offer students a credit if they have proof of the Education Award voucher. BE ABSOLUTELY SURE that if you do this, you have shown them the most recent amount of funds left in your Education Award and that you fully intend to take the classes you sign up for. If you allow the school to offer you a credit and then drop out of school before the voucher arrives (or even after, for that matter), you will owe those funds back to the school. Is the Education Award similar to a Pell Grant? Can I use my Education Award for living expenses? The Education Award is very similar to the Pell Grant in that it can be used for anything defined as Cost of Attendance. Cost of Attendance typically includes tuition, room and board, books and miscellaneous expenses. However, to be eligible for costs other than tuition, you generally have to be enrolled at least half time or greater. My handbook says I can use my Education Award for transportation expenses-does that mean I can make my car payment with it? No. When transportation expenses are calculated as part of the Cost of Attendance, transportation is referring to gas, bus tickets, and other minor monthly expenses used to get around. Can I use the Education Award to pay for books? How exactly can I use my Education Award to pay for books? Yes, you can. Books typically fall under the “Cost of Attendance.” When you receive your Education Award take it to your Financial Aid Officer and s/he will fill out the Financial Aid Office section of the voucher and mail it in to the National Service Trust. What if I have no ‘prior costs’ and receive a merit-based scholarship, how should I apply my Education Award? While you may not have prior costs, it's likely that your Cost of Attendance is still rather high due to room, board, etc. However, if you have a huge scholarship, using your Education Award may wind up reducing your other aid. Always apply for all the financial aid that you can, and be sure to apply early and on time (before February in most cases.) If part of your financial aid package is a grant you do not need to repay, using your Education Award may take the place of that grant. In this case, it may be best to take out a loan, use the grant from the school, and use the Education Award to pay off the loan. Once you receive your Award letter, make sure your Education Award does not reduce your other aid. Talk with the financial aid officer at your school and verify that your Education Award will not place you into an Over-Award status. (Over-Award: When your total financial aid exceeds your Cost of Attendance.) Remember that you have 7 years to use your Education Award. You may choose not to use it now if it will result in loss of aid. To find out how to maximize the value of your Education Award visit: www.onechildleftbehind.com/edaward.html and open the “Handout” link under “Education Award Handout.” I am funding Graduate School on my own. Is it better to use the Education Award to pay off college loans or finance Graduate School? It depends. As a graduate student you won’t receive Pell grants or SEOG. There are other forms of financial aid for graduate students such as assistantships, fellowships, and other awards that do not need to be repaid. For more information visit www.finaid.org. Most graduate students will not lose other aid by using the Education Award. Consider using part of the Education Award to cover current expenses and part for prior loans. Every case is different. Consult with your financial aid officer. What about using a loan to get in school and receiving a refund for the overage because the Education Award did not come in on time? I start my courses in 2 weeks and my loan was processed last week, but I want to use my Education Award this semester/quarter. Many students do select to take out loans, rather than pay tuition; however, remember your Education Award can only be used to repay eligible student loans such as Stafford, Perkins, or Consolidation loans. How do I know that the National Service Trust has paid the interest on my loan during the deferment period? Contact the National Service Trust at (888) 507-5962 or email@example.com. Also register for a PIN and password and check online at http://www.americorps.gov/for_individuals/benefits/ benefits_ed_award_taxes.asp. If I don't plan on going back to school, and I don't have any student loans to pay back, can my Education Award be refunded to me as cash? No, you cannot have the Education Award refunded to you as cash. Is legislation being considered that would enable the Education Award to be used for the start- up business costs? No. Is there legislation being passed to make the Education Award tax exempt? No, there is no legislation to make the Education Award exempt from taxes. Congress decided this is an issue for the IRS and the congressional committee that oversees taxes. What are some other useful links regarding effective use of my Education Award? www.onechildleftbehind.com/edaward.html www.americorps.gov/for_individuals/alumni/education_award.asp www.nationalserviceresources.org/filemanager/download/447/rogers.pdf
"ACCESSING AND USING YOUR"