By prioritizing and planning, you can live in Providence 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 Providence 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 and Health Benefits
Assistance Programs
Education Benefits and Loan Forbearance
Other Considerations
Entertainment on a Budget
Example Budgets

STIPEND AND HEALTH BENEFITS

Stipend: First-year AmeriCorps members earn $564 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. Currently, first-year members claiming only themselves, receive $469 bi-weekly, after taxes. 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 two weeks 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 Providence 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. EAP’s phone number and website will be provided to you via email in August.

Food Assistance: Rhode Island’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.

Public Transit: Beginning August 7, through your participation with City Year Providence, you will be provided with a RIPTA transit pass. Transportation passes can be used seven days a week when RIPTA is in service. Utilizing public transportation to travel in and around Providence 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 passes will be shared in August.

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 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.

ENTERTAINMENT ON A BUDGET

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

Residents of Providence can get a free Providence Public Library card by showing proof of residency at the Circulation Desk of any library in the network.

The City of Providence's recommendations for things to do on a budget include many favorites of City Year members and staff. Tours of the State House and RISD Museum, exploring our many beautiful parks and Providence Walks East Side Tours.

EXAMPLE BUDGETS

Below are the current monthly budgets for two City Year Providence AmeriCorps members. As you can see by how they allocate their resources, Drine and Theda have different priorities and expectations.

Drine relocated from Connecticut and shared a three-bedroom apartment on the Northside of Providence with two roommates (one other City Year member and one college student). When searching for a place to live, Drine utilized the housing Facebook group set up by the City Year recruitment team. Someone posted in the group about an apartment that fit in Drine’s budget and she took the next steps. Drine created her monthly budget with the goal of saving money each month. To do so, she utilized SNAP benefits and took advantage of free entertainment in Providence, such as museum passes and public concerts. For tax purposes, Drine claims single/0. Included in Drine’s budget is shared internet, utilities and Drine’s personal bills.    

Theda lives in Providence with her mother in a three-story apartment in the West End area. Since she lives at home she is able to save most of her money while only contributing a small portion of her stipend to support her mother with rent and groceries. For tax purposes, Theda claims single/1. What she saves on rent by living at home, she spends on conference expenses (conference budget/travel) and personal bills (phone/gym membership).  

MONTHLY BUDGET

Drine  

Theda  

Stipend, after taxes  

$ 937

$ 892

SNAP Benefit  

$ 190

$ 0

TOTAL INCOME  

$1,127

  $892

Rent

$ 390

$ 50

Utilities

 $50-80

$ 0

Groceries/Food  

 $ 190

$ 50

Transportation  

$ 20 (Uber)

$ 15 (Lyft/Uber)

Entertainment  

$ 100

$ 100

Other Expenses  

$ 270

$ 250

TOTAL EXPENSES  

$ 1,020 - 1,050

$ 465