Bill Updates Law to Ensure Students Receive Full Value of Education Awards
Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Johnny Isakson (R-GA) today reintroduced legislation to provide tax relief for AmeriCorps members who earn Segal Education Awards, which help make college more affordable. The legislation allows AmeriCorps members to receive the full value of the college funding provided for their service.
“Americans across the country are meeting the critical needs of their communities by serving as AmeriCorps members,” Bennet said. “Taxing the awards members receive for this service simply does not make sense. We should eliminate this unnecessary burden on AmeriCorps members who dedicate their time to serving communities in Colorado and across the country.”
“The men and women who join AmeriCorps perform a public service, giving their time and talents to help communities across our great country,” Isakson said. “An unexpected tax bill is the wrong way to thank them for their service. I’m proud to reintroduce this bipartisan legislation to help remove this unfair tax burden on recipients of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.”
“The tax on the AmeriCorps education awards creates an unexpected tax burden on the dedicated Americans who commit to serving their country through AmeriCorps. It’s essentially a tax on service,” AnnMaura Connolly, President of Voices for National Service said. “Just as we don’t tax Pell Grants or GI Bill Benefits, we shouldn’t tax the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award. We’re grateful to Senators Johnny Isakson and Michael Bennet for leading the effort to make the award tax free and urge their colleagues to support the bill.”
Currently, Segal Education Awards are considered taxable income. The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Tax Relief Act of 2019 would exclude these awards from income tax, to reflect the intent of federal Education Awards – to help those serving pay for college – and remove a barrier that may discourage young people from taking advantage of this financial aid.
AmeriCorps members who complete a full term of service, at least 1,700 hours, earn a Segal Education Award equal to the amount of the maximum Pell Grant ($6,195 for 2019). AmeriCorps members can use the award to pay college costs or to pay down student loan debt. Since the program launched in 1994, nearly one million AmeriCorps members have earned Segal Education Awards.
AmeriCorps members provide results-driven service to tackle education, health, environmental, and economic challenges. Annually, there are over 75,000 AmeriCorps members serving in communities across America – 2,600 of whom are in Colorado. Since 1994, more than 35,000 Colorado residents have served approximately 34 million hours through AmeriCorps, earning Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards totaling more than $87.0 million.
In addition to Bennet and Isakson, the legislation is co-sponsored by U.S. Senators Roy Blunt (R-MO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Chris Coons (D-DE), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Rob Portman (R-OH), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and Roger Wicker (R-MS).
The bill text is available HERE.The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award Tax Relief Act of 2019 is supported by the following groups: American Red Cross, American YouthWorks, America Forward, America Learns, America’s Service Commissions, Anchorage Park Foundation , Appalachian Conservation Corps, Arizona Conservation Corps, California Family Resource Center, California Volunteers, Campus Compact, Child Abuse Prevention Center, Child Abuse Prevention Council of Sacramento, Cities of Service, Citizen Schools, City Year, College Forward, College Possible, Colorado Youth Corps Association, Community Training Works Inc., Conservation Corps Minnesota and Iowa, Conservation Legacy, EarthCorps, EducationWorks, Encore.org, FoodCorps, Great Basin Institute, Habitat for Humanity International, Hunger Free America, Jumpstart, Limitless Vistas, Inc., Local Initiatives Support Corporation (LISC), Massachusetts Service Alliance, Minnesota Alliance With Youth, National Association of Foster Grandparent Program Directors, National Senior Corps Association, Northwest Youth Corps, Playworks, Point of Light, Prevent Child Abuse California, Reading Partners, Rebuilding Together, Rocky Mountain Conservancy, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps, Rocky Mountain Youth Corps – New Mexico, Service Year Alliance, Southeast Conservation Corps, Southwest Conservation Corps, Stewards Program, Student Conservation Association, Teach For America, The Corps Network, The Ohio Association of Foodbanks, The University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education, The Walker Basin Conservancy, United Way Worldwide, United Way of Central Georgia, United Way of the Coastal Empire, GA, United Way of Forsyth County, GA, United Way of Greater Atlanta, United Way of Weld County, CO, Vermont Youth Conservation Corps, Voices for National Service, Western Colorado Conservation Corps, YMCA of the USA, YouthBuild USA, 9/11 National Day of Service and Remembrance.