AmeriCorps Education Award Spending in Michigan

A brief look.

The Corporation for National & Community Service operates the Open Data portal, releasing regular updates on certain aspects of their work. Much of my previous post on volunteering and the labor market relied on their data, and I’m building on it once again for a look at Education Award spending.

Currently, Segal Education Awards are provided to AmeriCorps members that successfully complete a term of service, valued at slightly over $5,600. They can primarily be spent on further education or to repay eligible student loans. Various institutions match the award, as well, and members can earn up to two awards in a lifetime. CNCS has found that “since 1994, AmeriCorps alumni have earned more than $3.3 billion in education awards, including $1 billion to repay student debt.”

I haven’t found the exact numbers on how many members serve per year in Michigan since 1994. CNCS notes that roughly 75,000 individuals serve per year and previously celebrated the 1 millionth member mark in 2017.

In Michigan, the number of Ed Awards used per year has hovered around 120 since 2001.

Total payment made to Michigan instititutions from 1994 to 2016 is $39,639,661.69.

Top Five Institutions by Payment1 Total Payment Total Alumni Count2 # of Payments Made
University of Michigan $12,147,554.45 3,010 4,724
Michigan State University $2,834,685.33 1,160 1,703
Wayne State University $2,447,584.42 723 1,175
Wayne County Community College District $1,630,796.24 488 872
Grand Valley State University $1,524,630.49 550 792

The top 25 schools, by number of payments made, account for 82% of all payments made, out of a total 176 payees.

Initially, it’s a bit surprising that spending at U of M so far outpaces every other school, boasting a roughly 450% increase from spending at MSU. Accounting for this is most likely that certain schools at U of M offer matching funds. Only 3 schools in Michigan do: U of M, Cleary University, and Olivet College. Cleary and Olivet received 10 and 42 payments respectively.3
Additionally, taking a look at the 2018 CNCS rankings of which states, large cities, and small cities produce the most AmeriCorps members might provide some clue: Detroit is #10 and Ann Arbor #6 within their designated size class. Detroit was also listed in 2016 as #9. Rankings only go back to 2015 and only include the top 10. Michigan, as a state, has not appeared on the list.

It’s somewhat interesting but predictable to take a look at the uses for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award:

Type Number
Education 2226
Interest Payment 222
Other 7

1. I’m not entirely sure why, but the Top 5 AmeriSchools dataset doesn’t reflect the same data as the set it’s based on.
2. Important to note that this refers to AmeriCorps alumni, and doesn’t indicate whether the payment is for further schooling or repayment. It is described as “the total number of unduplicated AmeriCorps Alumni who have authorized the payment.”
3. A bit of further analysis here on matching institutions. 201 higher education institutions match AmeriCorps Education Awards in 40 states. Michigan is ranked 13th in the nation by the number of matching institutions, but it is a bit misleading: the list counts different schools at U of M as individual institutions, so the Ford School, the School of Information, the Taubman College, and SEAS artificially double our score. The list’s mean is 4.9 and median is 3. The full list is accessible here.

Written on October 17, 2018