By prioritizing and planning, you can live in New York City on your City Year stipend. The information and resources below will help you prepare for your year (or two) of service. The financial circumstances, expectations, and priorities of the New York corps 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: First-year AmeriCorps members earn $629 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. At a stipend of $629, first-year members claiming only themselves would receive approximately $520 bi-weekly after taxes are deducted. Please note that federal and state income tax withholding rates are subject to change from year to year.
Paychecks are deposited directly into your bank account every other week. Your first paycheck will be issued on Friday, August 25, 2017 and cover your first week of service.
Health Benefits: At any time during your 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 New York City area which are covered by that plan.
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. EAP’s phone number and website will be provided to you via email in August.
Food Assistance: New York’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) 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 SNAP benefits and the process to apply, as well as eligibility documentation from City Year, will be provided at your in-person registration day. The Food Bank for New York City provides information on SNAP.
MTA Transit: Beginning on your first day of service, August 14, City Year will provide you with a monthly unlimited MetroCard. This card can be used for all modes of MTA transportation including the subway and bus service. Each month your Impact Manager will provide you with a new MetroCard.
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.
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 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.
Relocation: A summary of typical relocation and housing costs can be found here.
ACM 1 Testimonial
I moved to New York in the summer of 2016 and shared a four-bedroom apartment in Bushwick with three non City Year members. When I first started looking for apartments, I preferred living with City Year members but was unable to find any roommates. I was unsure of my placement and decided to go with an apartment I had liked that was very roomy. I was lucky to have a washer/dryer in my apartment and not spend money going to a laundry facility. I quickly realized that I needed to be better about my finances and stick to spending only a certain amout every month. I like to be organized with set days I know payments are due with specific amounts, so I always knew what I needed to put aside. I prioritized my responsibilities and made sure I was still able to spend money doing things I enjoy, which include finding cheap tickets to PA to see my sister.
ACM 2 Testimonial
I'm currently living in East Harlem with three other CYNY corps members. I moved in Summer of 2016 and was terrified that I wouldn't be able to afford rent while living off of a City Year stipend. I worked a summer job before moving to NYC and was able to save a little money and that helped with my security deposit and first months rent. Once I began service I realized that living in NYC on a stipend was doable as long as I had the will power to budget effectively and consistently. In fact I learned that if I was smart about my spending I actually was able to save some money every month (which is helpful for any emergencies that may arise). Gaining best practices from my team and asking New York natives about free entertainment also proved to be incredbly helpful.