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    alternative post-graduation plans: philanthropic programs

    Posted : October 30, 2012
    Last Updated : July 7, 2017

    alternative post-graduation plans: philanthropic programs

    Going straight from college into a steady, full-time job isn't the right path for everyone. You may not be able to find the right job after college. Or you may still be undecided on a career path. Or you may just want to spend a year or two giving back to your community. Whatever your reasoning, post-graduate service opportunities are a beneficial alternative to full-time employment after college. Not only do these philanthropic programs allow you to help others while gaining work experience, but many programs also offer help with paying off student loans in addition to salary/stipend. If you are interested in post-graduate service, check out the following philanthropic programs.

    AmeriCorps is a service program that organizes volunteer efforts within the United States. Many of the programs discussed in this article are members of the AmeriCorps network. It has three main programs: AmeriCorps State and National, AmeriCorps VISTA, and AmeriCorps NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps). From mentoring disadvantage youth to building affordable housing to cleaning parks and streams to responding to natural disasters, volunteers with AmeriCorps can engage in a variety of activities. Corps members usually serve in their position for ten months to one year. Some of the benefits of AmeriCorps include:

    • A modest living allowance
    • A Segal AmeriCorps Education Award to pay for college, graduate school, or to repay qualified student loans
    • Student loan forbearance and paid interest for term of service (for some programs)
    • Housing (for some programs)
    • Health care (for some programs)

    For more information on becoming an AmeriCorps member, please visit americorps.gov.

    City Year
    City Year, a member of the AmeriCorps network, is a service program that places members in educational and youth programs in order to fight the dropout crisis. The program places a large importance on working with youth in at-risk communities. It is currently operating in 28 cities across the United States. City Year members serve for one year and help students by providing academic support, attendance and positive behavior encouragement, and community and school improvements. Benefits of City Year may include:

    • A weekly stipend
    • A Segal Education Award (through AmeriCorps) to pay for college, graduate school, or to repay qualified student loans
    • Federal student loan deferment
    • Health insurance
    • Child care coverage

    For more information about joining City Year, please visit cityyear.org.

    Green Corps (Field School For Environmental Organizing)
    Green Corps Field School for Environmental Organizing is a program that trains members in leading environmental campaigns through classroom instruction and hands-on field work. The program lasts for one year and can lead to career placement in positions with leading environmental groups. Recent campaigns that trainees have worked on include: fighting global warming, exposing the abuses of the bottled water industry, and stopping ocean dumping. Benefits of Green Corps can include:

    • A yearly salary of $26,000
    • Student loan repayment program for qualifying staff
    • Optional group health care coverage
    • Paid sick days, holidays, and vacation days

    For more information about applying to the Green Corps' training program, please visit greencorps.org.

    Habitat For Humanity AmeriCorps
    Habitat for Humanity is a service organization that builds simple, decent, and affordable housing for low-income families around the world. Habitat for Humanity partners with the Corporation for National and Community Service to place AmeriCorps members at local Habitat affiliates and partner organizations. Habitat AmeriCorps members commit for 10 to 12 months and can serve in a variety of roles such as engaging communities, building homes, leading volunteers, raising resources, and developing new programs. Benefits of Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps can include:

    • A modest living allowance
    • A Segal Education Award (through AmeriCorps) to pay for college, graduate school, or to repay qualified student loans
    • Federal student loan forbearance
    • Health benefits
    • Workers' compensation
    • Paid personal and sick days
    • Child care coverage

    For more information about becoming a Habitat AmeriCorps member, please visit habitat.org.

    Peace Corps
    Peace Corps is a volunteer program sponsored by the U.S. government that sends members to countries around the world to help with general development. Volunteers with the Peace Corps work in positions pertaining to education, youth and community development, heath, business and information and communications technology, agriculture, and environment. Volunteers usually serve for 2 years after a 3-month training period. Benefits of Peace Corps may include:

    • A monthly living and housing allowance
    • Student loan assistance
    • Full medical and dental coverage
    • 48 paid vacation days
    • Leave for family emergencies
    • Language, cross-cultural, and technical training
    • Travel to and from country of service
    • Unique graduate school opportunities
    • Transition and job support and social networking after service

    For more information about volunteering for the Peace Corps, please visit peacecorps.gov.

    Teach For America
    Teach For America, a member of the AmeriCorps network, is a service program that places recent college graduates and professionals in teaching positions in urban and rural public schools throughout the United States. Their goal is to provide an excellent education for kids in low-income communities. Teach For America members attend a five-week summer program to prepare for their two-year commitment. Members teach grades K-12 in all subject areas. Benefits of Teach For America can include:

    • A salary ranging from $24,000 to $55,000 depending on region
    • A Segal Education Award (through AmeriCorps) to pay for college, graduate school, or to repay qualified student loans
    • Student loan forbearance and paid interest for two years
    • Health insurance
    • Retirement benefits
    • Discounts for educators
    • Exclusive scholarships and benefits from grad schools and employers

    For more information about Teach For America, please visit teachforamerica.org.

    There are a multitude of philanthropic programs that extend beyond the scope of this article. For more information about participating in volunteer programs after your college graduation, please visit your school's career services department.


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