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By prioritizing and planning, you can live in Milwaukee on your City Year stipend. The information and resources below will help you prepare for your year of service. The financial circumstances, expectations, and priorities of each corps member will vary, so this information is intended to be a guide for you to develop a thoughtful budget for yourself with the most information possible.

Stipend and Health Benefits

Assistance Programs

Education Benefits and Loan Forbearance

Other Considerations

Entertainment on a Budget

STIPEND AND HEALTH BENEFITS

Stipend: First-year AmeriCorps members earn $568 bi-weekly. Your AmeriCorps stipend is taxable and the amount of taxes deducted from your paycheck will depend on the number of allowances you claim when you complete Form W-4 (Withholding Allowances) as part of your hiring paperwork. You may change your elections at any time. Here is a website that calculates what you will receive depending on the allowances you selected. 

Paychecks are deposited directly into your bank account every other week. Your first paycheck will be issued on Friday, August 11, 2017 and cover your first two weeks of service.

To determine how best to budget your stipend, download this excel sheet to help calculate your living expenses. 

Health Benefits: Health coverage is required for all AmeriCorps members. At the beginning of service you may enroll in City Year’s health coverage plan for AmeriCorps members. There is no cost to you to enroll in this health coverage plan, which provides you with basic preventative and routine coverage and is fully compliant with Affordable Care Act requirements.

Many members remain on their parent/guardian’s insurance plan while serving, which may be an option for you. We encourage you to check with that provider network to ensure there are doctors and services in the Milwaukee area which are covered by that plan.

ASSISTANCE PROGRAMS

Employee Assistance Program: Members facing a personal or work-related issue have access to free and confidential support from licensed consultants and counselors. This benefit is provided to enhance the well-being of City Year members and address any concerns that are a barrier to your health and well-being. Information to contact this service will be available after the start of service.

Food Assistance: Wisconsin's FoodShare program enables those with limited incomes to use an electronic benefits card to purchase nutritious food at neighborhood grocery stores. The level of support you are eligible for varies based on your financial circumstances, sources of income, and living expenses. Our current AmeriCorps members report that they have received up to $190 per month to apply toward their grocery expenses. Specific information about FoodShare benefits and the process to apply, as well as eligibility documentation from City Year, will be provided at your in-person registration day.

Energy Assistance: Milwaukee County's Energy Assistance Program provides a one-time payment to eligible Milwaukee County residents to help pay a portion of energy bills during the heating season. 

MCTS Transit: Corps member will opt in or out of their transportation benefit during registration. Utilizing public transportation to travel in and around Milwaukee can save members a substantial amount of money compared to driving, parking, or using ride-sharing services. City Year highly encourages members to utilize public transportation and to consider transit options when conducting your housing search. More information about the transit pass options will be available in July.

EDUCATION BENEFITS AND LOAN FORBEARANCE

AmeriCorps Education Award: After successful completion of your service year you will earn a Segal Education Award of $5,815. The award is not paid in cash. It is disbursed directly by the National Service Trust to colleges and/or financial institutions (i.e. it does not go through your bank account) and can go toward pursuing further education or to pay off existing, qualified student loans. Information about your education award will be provided during orientation and again at the end of the service year. Additional information about the Award is available from the Corporation for National and Community Service.

The education award is taxed when used and you will be responsible for taxes in your annual income tax filing due in April of the following year. For example, if you use the award in 2018, you will be responsible for paying the taxes in 2019.

AmeriCorps Student Loan Forbearance: During your service, you can request that qualified federal student loans be put into forbearance. Upon successful completion of your term, you may also request the accrued interest be paid by the National Service Trust, the federal administrator for AmeriCorps’ education benefits. Once service has begun and you are enrolled as an AmeriCorps member, you will be able to request forbearance of qualified loans in the MyAmeriCorps system.

Federal Loan Repayment Options: The College Cost Reduction and Access Act created two new federal programs for the repayment of federal loans. While these programs are not benefits afforded exclusively to AmeriCorps members, enrollment in either program could benefit current or former members who have significant student debt. The programs are entitled the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program and Income-Based Repayment Plan. Note, that enrollment in either of these program renders one ineligible for forbearance while participating with City Year. Additional information about these programs will be provided during orientation.

Education Partnerships: More than 100 colleges and universities nationwide augment the Segal Education Award in some way, including matching your award amount, waived application fees, course credits, or service scholarships. A complete list of matching institutions is online here.

More than 100 leading colleges and universities provide scholarships at the graduate and undergraduate level City Year alumni. Over $3 million dollars of scholarships are exclusively available each year to members interested in a wide range of programs including education, public policy, social work, business, and public health. A complete list of these partners is online here.

OTHER CONSIDERATIONS

Additional Income: To supplement their stipend, some AmeriCorps members work part-time in addition to their full-time service. City Year does not prohibit members from doing so, though other commitments cannot interfere with your school-based service, training, or professional development.

Service is typically 45-50 hours per week plus your commute. Members with additional jobs or responsibilities typically limit them to weekends to allow themselves time to relax and rest after long days of service with their students.

ENTERTAINMENT ON A BUDGET

Like any major city, having fun in Milwaukee can be expensive. However, with a little planning and creativity you can find several free or low-cost things to do throughout the year.

City Year Milwaukee corps members receive membership to Teachtown's Key to the City. This program provides free and reduced admission to museums and events across the city.