Other Aid Resources
Loans, scholarships, and grants are only a few ways of getting money to pay for school. Other ways include participating in a community service program and setting up an Individual Development Account.
Community service is volunteer work that is done in elementary schools, high schools, at after-school programs, at senior centers, at community centers, and many other organizations that exist to improve a community. A few examples of community service include working as a teacher’s aide, painting low-income houses, or building playgrounds. Working with a community service program will provide you with experiences that may influence your career decision.
Participating in a community service program is not for everyone. Some programs have age restrictions. Most community service programs require a commitment of 10 to 12 months of service and pay a modest living stipend. If you have a family to support, this modest living stipend may not pay all of your bills. Once you have completed the required number of service hours, you will receive an education award up to help pay for college, vocational training, or to repay student loans.
AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects more than 70,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet our country’s critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. AmeriCorps members serve with more than 3,000 nonprofits, public agencies, and faith-based and community organizations. AmeriCorps has three main programs: State and National, VISTA, and NCCC.
Individual Development Accounts (IDAs)
Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) are savings accounts that help low-income families save money to pay for college, buy a house, or start their own business. IDAs are different from normal savings accounts. Every dollar that you put into your IDA is matched. The matching depends on the IDA host organization. If you put in $200 into an IDA, you will typically receive an additional $200. Instead of saving $200, you will be saving $400.
You cannot get an IDA by walking into a bank. IDAs are only offered by some community organizations, such as your local community development corporation. You must meet certain eligibility requirements. For example, if you have a family of three, your household income cannot exceed $32,180. Check with your local program for more information.