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With Thanksgiving leftovers running low and excitement of where their service experience will lead them running high, many City Year AmeriCorps members are starting to consider their post-service plans, including applying to graduate school.

In City Year’s 2018 National Alumni Survey, 55% of alumni reported they attained a graduate degree and this pursuit of continuing education follows a national trend of recent college graduates. According to SallieMae’s inaugural report on “How America Pays for Graduate School”, 63% of individuals begin grad school within 12 months of completing their undergrad degree. Additionally, two-thirds of students see a graduate degree as the new minimum standard for professional careers.

The report also found this generation of graduate students is taking on significant debt to finance their degree. Only 15 percent of costs are covered by grants, scholarships, fellowships and tuition waiver. 

Between the Segal Education Award and additional exclusive scholarships available through City Year’s University Partners, our AmeriCorps members and alumni planning on graduate school can significantly reduce the cost of their degree!

We caught up with six City Year alumni currently attending partner schools across a range of master’s and JD programs and they offered reflections on how their service year influenced their decision to pursue graduate school and the impact they hope to make in their world after completing their degree.

University of Pennsylvania School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2)

SP2 promotes social innovation, impact and justice by educating students to become leaders for social change. As a City Year AmeriCorps member, you will gain invaluable experience of social problems first hand, and have the leadership, teamwork, and communication skills to address these problems. City Year members pursuing a Master’s degree in Social Work (MSW), Social Policy or Nonprofit Leadership have the opportunity to be considered for an $18,750 scholarship for each of our one-year programs and up to a total of a $30,000 scholarship for our two-year MSW program.

Alumni perspective:

Braulio Acuria, City Year Los Angeles ’14

MS Candidate in Nonprofit Leadership ’19, Penn School of Social Policy & Practice

Braulio Acuria, City Year Los Angeles ’14 MS Candidate in Nonprofit Leadership ’19, Penn School of Social Policy & Practice

“My service year taught me that I have a passion for working alongside students. Hopefully, one day, I will open up a nonprofit that builds leadership and civically minded high school students to empower and pursue their own dreams. Attending graduate school can be expensive. However, learning that City Year offers a scholarship is a big help.”

LSU Graduate Programs

Civic engagement and community service are central to Louisiana State University’s mission and LSU readies students to meet the environmental, social, economic,  scientific, creative and educational challenges that confront us locally and globally in the twenty-first century. During a year of service, City Year AmeriCorps members gain invaluable skills such as collaboration, leadership, communication and organization to prepare for a variety of degrees. City Year mentors accepted to a degree-granting graduate level program at LSU’s flagship Baton Rouge campus can apply for one of two full scholarships (per academic year).

Alumni perspective:

Lauren Toomey, City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley ’18

Master of Education Candidate in Student Affairs ’19, LSU Graduate Programs

Lauren Toomey, City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley ’18 Master of Education Candidate in Student Affairs ’19, LSU Graduate Programs

“City Year was a large part of my decision to pursue graduate school. I actually discovered LSU because of their University partnership with City Year, and I was honored to be selected for one of the full tuition City Year alumni scholarships. My cohort at LSU shares my passions for servant leadership and student affairs and I am looking forward to bringing my unique social justice lens through which I view student affairs into the classroom and my research. In addition, I am excited to collaborate with LSU's Office of Community-University Partnership to educate others on the power of national service, how my service year got me to where I am today, and the impact City Year had on my life."

Claremont Graduate University School of Community & Global Health

Claremont Graduate University aims to promote human health and improve quality of life for individuals, families and communities. City Year AmeriCorps members experience how they can directly impact the community they serve in, and using this knowledge can continue to improve their communities locally and globally beyond. City Year members are eligible to apply for a $12,000 fellowship per year for the following colleges at Claremont: The Peter F. Drucker & Masatoshi Ito Graduate School of Management, The School of Educational Studies, The School of Social Science, Policy & Evaluation, The School of Community & Global Health, The Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Center for Information Systems and Technology.

Alumni perspective:

Priya Gandhi, City Year Los Angeles ’16

Master of Public Health ’18, Claremont Graduate University School of Community & Global Health

“My favorite aspect of the Master of Public Health program at Claremont was the different ways, we as a student body, found to help provide for our community and use our skills and knowledge to improve the community. City Year and my MPH helped me learn that different determinants factor into people's wellbeing and I incorporate that perspective into my community health work every day.”

Tufts University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences 

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences combines the atmosphere of a liberal arts college with the state-of-the-art technological resources of a large research institution. Tufts is a Tier-1 research university, offering more than 60 doctoral and master’s degrees, including interdisciplinary options, across the arts and sciences that can prepare City Year AmeriCorps Members for many diverse career fields such as school psychology, occupational therapy, diversity & inclusion leadership and more. Personalized mentoring, world-class researchers, collaborative laboratory facilities and industry partnerships equip Tufts graduate students with the skills to excel in their chosen specialties and improve people's lives through a passion for innovation and a commitment to excellence. Tufts offers a scholarship award (provided to up to 10 City Year corps, alumni or staff members) equivalent to 25% of the yearly tuition with the opportunity for additional merit-based aid.

Alumni perspective:

Adam McAfee, City Year New Hampshire ’16, ’17

Masters Candidate in School Psychology ’20, Tufts Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Adam McAfee, City Year New Hampshire ’16, ’17 Masters Candidate in School Psychology ’20, Tufts Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

“I always had a passion for working with young kids, but it wasn't until City Year I knew fully in what capacity my career would take me.  My one on one interactions with students lead me toward School Psychology.  After my first year with City Year, I applied and was accepted to various School Psychology programs, but chose to defer acceptance to Tufts to serve a second year with City Year New Hampshire. I am so glad I did. Many of our classes are taught through a social justice lens and we are pushed to unpack our own powers, privileges and circles of influence to understand how we enter the education space. My two years of service continually help me speak from experience and work from experience at Tufts.”

University of Michigan School of Law

Michigan Law, a perennial top-10 law school, is home to a famously collegial community, one that exudes a sense of serious purpose, academic achievement and social commitment. During a year of service, City Year AmeriCorps members use problem solving, oral communication, collaboration and relationship building to make a change in students’ lives. These skills will be essential in your journey to a Juris Doctorate Degree. All members of the City Year community accepted into the JD program at the University of Michigan are awarded a scholarship of at least $10,000/year, resulting in a minimum award of $30,000 for the three year program.

Alumni perspective:

Shenu Reddy City Year Chicago ’18

J.D. Candidate ’21, University of Michigan Law

Shenu Reddy City Year Chicago ’18 J.D. Candidate ’21, University of Michigan Law

“I knew I wanted to go to law school before I joined City Year. City Year did, however, reinforce the reasons I wanted to become a lawyer. After I earn my law degree, I hope to be able to have an impact in the arena of criminal justice reform. The way our justice system is set up devastates communities of color in the United States. Michigan Law provides so many opportunities for students to unapologetically dream and pursue their passions, just like City Year AmeriCorps members do for their own students.”

NYU Silver School of Social Work

NYU reflects the primary obligations of the social work profession – to advance social justice and promote the ideals of a humane society. A year of service with City Year will prepare you for clinical social work practice and provide you with a head start on assessment, intervention and evaluation skills with at risk populations. City Year AmeriCorps members and alumni accepted to the Silver School of Social Work are offered a minimum scholarship equaling $10,500 per year.  

Alumni perspective:

Carly Siuta City Year Chicago ’07, ’08

Master of Social Work Candidate ‘19, Shanghai and New York program pathway
NYU Silver School of Social Work

“I was most interested in completing my MSW at NYU because the program offers the chance to complete your first full year of study and fieldwork at their campus in Shanghai, China.  As a macro-practice social worker, I will continue to work in a capacity where I can support a community's voice and desire to advocate and make change. This belief really started with my City Year service, when I saw with my own eyes that the people, schools and communities I worked with did not match the negative stories and stereotypes perpetuated in the media and public discourse.“


In addition to providing exclusive City Year scholarship opportunities, all City Year’s University Partners offer an application fee waiver (or reimburse fee based on enrollment) for City Year AmeriCorps members and, in most cases, grant a deferral for those accepted into a graduate program who want to pursue a second year of service before beginning their studies.

For a full list of University Partners and benefits offered, please visit the City Year Alumni Website.

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