Money for College for Volunteers Under New Obama Service Bill

A priority of President Barack Obama’s administration has been community service, and he is very near making that campaign promise a reality. Obama is set to sign a bill Tuesday that will triple the size of AmeriCorps, giving the service organization $5.7 billion through 2017.
This bill will increase opportunities for people to be more involved and help within their communities. Obama has suggested that he’d like to make college costs more affordable, in exchange for service. During the campaign Michael Dannenberger of the New America Foundation said “Obama’s message to families is, ‘We’ll give you more financial aid to help you with college costs, but your kids are going to have to help others.’”
In an article at last year, we mentioned Obama’s community service plan for students:
His position is that it’s the government’s job to support college students persuing a degree. He’s not giving it away- in exchange for 100 hours of community service each year, the government will offer students a $4,000 tax break.
This service bill will promote additional money for college by offering:

  • a $1,000 education award to volunteers 55 or older, which can be transferred to their children, grandchildren or a mentee if they choose.
  • a $500 education award to students in 6th grade through 12th grade for volunteering during a proposed summer program.

The bill that Obama will sign April 21, 2009 was passed in March by Congress with broad bipartisan support. However, Republicans still argue that it is “an unnecessary intrusion by government into something Americans already do eagerly and in great numbers — helping their neighbors and communities,” according to an article on Yahoo News.
The bill will allow for a progressive increase in participation in AmericCorps, a volunteer organization created during the Clinton administration in the 1990s. Currently AmeriCorps supports 75,000 volunteers, the goal is having 250,000 volunteers who can help the poor, improve education, promote energy efficiency, strengthen health care accessibility and support veterans. AmeriCorps volunteers receive a stipend of about $12,000 for working 10 of 12 months.