Gap Year: Affordability Considerations
Can I afford to do a Year of Service program?
The majority of these programs, even if referred to as "volunteer," do offer some form of compensation including: room and board, living stipends, health insurance, travel expenses, education awards, etc. You will probably not see your savings account grow during this period, but by living simply you should be able to make it work. The "simple" lifestyle should not be too much of a stretch if you are skilled at living on a student budget, and it can be a valuable part of your experience. You may also want to consider creative ways to raise funds to help pay for costs you may have, especially for travel abroad.
Here are three links with tips for fundraising:
What about my student loans?
Loan deferment during your year of service may be a possibility. You will need to check with your "lender" or "servicer of the loan" for specific details and to determine if you qualify. Additionally, programs associated with AmeriCorps typically offer an education award at the end of your service term. This financial award can be used to pay for future education expenses or to put toward current student loans.
Note: Many of the above resources were adapted from an article written by Jon McConnell, Student Development Programs Director, Haas Center for Public Service, Stanford University and Alice Bergman, Former Director, Reed College Career Center.