For some, the cost of higher education presents an obstacle in and of itself. At UWM, AmeriCorps alumni are showing that service to the community can help overcome that hurdle.
AmeriCorps volunteers earn credits that can be used for post-secondary education. Over the past two decades, AmeriCorps alumni have used $4.3 million to pay for education at UWM, the second most of any school in Wisconsin, according to the Corporation for National & Community Service, AmeriCorps’ parent organization.
AmeriCorps is a national network that supports and organizes a wide range of intensive community service programs and volunteers. The programs strive to address local, community-driven needs in education, health, public safety and the environment. In exchange for service, AmeriCorps members receive money for education and job skills training in addition to other benefits.
“While working with City Year MKE (an AmeriCorps program), I was able to recruit and inspire youth in my home community,” said Das McMillan, AmeriCorps alumnus pursuing a graduate degree in media studies at UWM. “The main reason I’m in graduate school now is because of my two education awards. Now I’m working on my second degree with hopes of returning back to the community and continue serving.”
The UW System overall has seen AmeriCorps alumni education awards fund $14.6 million worth of education over the past 21 years. That total makes the UW System the eighth-ranked “AmeriSchool” in the U.S.
UWM ranks second among UW System schools in terms of AmeriCorps-funded education at over $4.3 million. UW-Madison ranks first with more than $6.3 million, and UW-Stevens Point ranks third with just over $980,000 in AmeriCorps-funded education.
Among other schools in the area, UWM’s AmeriCorps-funded education total is more than double that of Marquette University’s $2 million, which is first among non-UW schools in Wisconsin.