Benefits of Service

Benefits Breakdown

There are many short and long term benefits of completing a service year with AmeriCorps VISTA/Lake Effect Leaders. A brief overview is detailed below. 

For a more thorough explanation of service benefits, click on the Find Out More button to be redirected to the Corporation for National and Community Service AmeriCorps VISTA Campus Page: Benefits of Service.

Living Allowance/Healthcare

VISTA members are compensated for their service through a living allowance worth $12,312/year. The allowance is broken down into bi-weekly stipends that can be deposited directly into your bank account. In addition, VISTAs are eligible to receive up to $7,150 in healthcare allowance.

Professional Development

Lake Effect Leaders participate in more than 80 hours of professional development trainings throughout their service term in order to successfully complete VISTA Assignment Descriptions. Additional free trainings and courses can be taken advantage of through the VISTA Campus website. 

Education Award/Post-Service Stipend

Members who successfully complete a VISTA service year are eligible to receive either the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award (education award), or the VISTA end-of-service cash stipend. 

  • The Segal AmeriCorps Education Award: The education award, which is valued at $5,815, is in the form of a voucher (not cash), and can be used for future educational training and related expenses at Title IV schools, and/or to repay existing eligible federal student loans (*
    Some higher education institutions will match the Segal Education Award. You can find the full list of matching institutions by clicking here: Segal Ed Award Matches.

  • VISTA End-of-Service Cash Stipend: The cash stipend is paid in your last two living allowance checks, and can be used however you like. The value of a cash stipend is approximately $1,800.* 

*The value of both the Segal Education Award and the End-Of-Service Cash Stipend are subject to change year-to-year. 

Non-Competitive Eligibility

VISTAs who complete their service receive one year of non-competitive eligibility for employment in the federal government.  

Cohort Experience

The Lake Effect Leaders offers a unique opportunity to serve with 20+ other VISTA members living in Erie and Crawford counties.