AmeriCorps FAQs

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the program?

The California Community Colleges Student Ambassador Program will have 108 half-time AmeriCorps members who will serve as student ambassadors in health and wellness OR work-based learning and career exploration for economically disadvantaged students in 20 California community college placement sites. AmeriCorps members will help these students access services, improve employability, and prepare for success in college and career. Colleges that host members will choose from one or both of the following categories of need for interventions: work-based learning to improve employability or health and wellness to address economic and behavioral barriers to postsecondary educational success.

What is its current status and anticipated upcoming key dates?

The plan, contingent on site selection, is to have members in place at participating colleges very early in the fall academic term. A proposal has been approved by California Volunteers (CV), which administers the federal AmeriCorps grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS). Our goal is to start the program when students return to college this fall, 2017. This timeline is preliminary and subject to change, but we hope applications from colleges can be submitted by mid-August, with training for supervisors and recruitment of members taking place in early September. 

How long will the project likely be funded?

Assuming AmeriCorps funding continues at the federal level, and the project is successful, three years of funding is expected, and there is a strong possibility that it will continue indefinitely

Are there plans to expand the program in subsequent years, or is this a one-time opportunity?

If the program is successful, we would like to apply to expand it to additional colleges in subsequent years.

What will members be expected to do and achieve during their service?

Work-based learning (WBL) ambassadors will educate college faculty, staff and students about the value and availability of WBL opportunities through presentations at meetings or in classrooms, or participation in a campus career fair. Through a continuum of one-on-one coaching, WBL ambassadors will hold an “intake” meeting with students to learn more about the student’s interests, skills, and readiness for WBL; determine which type of WBL facilitator is the best fit for the student; work with the student will prepare a tailored WBL plan that communicates the student’s needs and interests with a WBL facilitator; support the student as they work with the facilitator organization, including answering questions the student has about filling out forms, and helping the student prepare a resume; meet with students who secure WBL opportunities to assess the impact of the experience and the effectiveness of the assistance provided; and provide mentoring to WBL completers on how to become volunteer peer ambassadors for WBL.

Wellness ambassadors will provide a peer-based approach to raise awareness of the availability of public benefits and the value of healthy behavioral choices. They will increase students’ access to resources and support systems by networking with on-campus support programs and off-campus agencies and organizations. They will also coordinate workshops on health, nutrition, and mental health; network and partner with campus resources such as health centers, foster youth liaisons, homeless youth liaisons, wellness centers, food pantries, and mental health counselors; organize and deliver presentations, campus resource tables, and health and wellness fairs on campus; establish partnerships with local community resources such as food banks and housing programs, public assistance, and clinics to increase access to these resources; coordinate and collaborate with existing on-campus student support programs; and implement activities on and off campus to increase awareness of student support programs.

Specific performance measures are proposed for members, sites, and the program overall, and more information will be made available by request.

How will member recruitment occur?

Colleges will recruit members from among its students with preference for selection of economically disadvantaged students. The Foundation for California Community Colleges will provide materials and support. Members must submit an application through

What is the member's commitment and are members paid for their service?

Each member’s term of service will be a minimum of 900 hours over the academic year. Each member will receive a living allowance of $400, and if the member completes the term of service, that student will receive an Education Award of $2,907.50 from the National Service Trust. In addition, members gain valuable work experience and the satisfaction of providing needed service to their community and country.

What will colleges need to agree to do and provide, if selected?

  • Agree to implement the program largely as designed and in full compliance with federally- and state-required terms of the sub-agreement. 
  • Recruit, screen, select, and supervise a minimum of two half-time members.
  • Identify one or more relevant college courses for all members at your site to attend for credit and, with support from the Foundation for California Community Colleges, provide training for members.
  • Meet expectations for a quality member service learning experience, including member development activities, connection with the AmeriCorps national network and developing an esprit de corps. 
  • Keep good records and report expenditures, activities, progress, and outcomes consistent with other sites. Some measures, like member service hours, may be required to be reported monthly.
  • Provide documentation of required in-kind (non-cash) match as budgeted.
  • Participate in a network of program sites for mutual support and learning, and participate in required training and check-in meetings for supervisors, and other efforts to improve program design.
  • Participate in regular individual or regional calls with the Foundation for California Community Colleges to share program successes, challenges, and opportunities for improvement.

What funding will be provided to colleges that are selected?

Part of the colleges’  costs will be covered by grant funds, either through reimbursements or direct payment. Amounts will be based on a negotiated budget and based on actual costs. See below for an estimated breakdown.

  • Approximately 10% of a member supervisor’s time
  • Approximately 10% of an administrator’s time for data collection and financial and program reporting
  • Supplies (to a maximum amount)
  • Training materials  (to a maximum amount)
  • Member and supervisor background checks
  • Recruitment costs (to a maximum amount)
  • Member stipends at $400 per member, per year
  • Supervisor travel to required training

What level of match will be required, and what may comprise it?

24% match is required for the program overall for each of the first three years. We have budgeted the match to be all in-kind, not cash match, and have proposed that it be comprised of the value of fee waiver for members attending required college classes and the value of instructional hours. Sources for college contributions are negotiable in advance. All match will need to be documented consistent with federal requirements.

How will colleges be chosen? Will they need to apply? What will be the criteria for selection?

To participate, colleges will first submit a Letter of Intent. Colleges that meet minimum requirements will then be invited to submit an application to the Foundation for California Community Colleges that will describe:

  • Need, including whether the college serves the geographic areas prioritized by California Volunteers, whether the college serves a large number of high percentage of economically disadvantaged students, why its students can benefit from peer intervention to improve access to work-based learning, wellness resources and public benefits. 
  • A member recruitment plan describing how members will be recruited from among students at the college (with a preference for selection of disadvantaged students), developed, and supported to provide interventions with fidelity that can produce desired outcomes 
  • Identification and description of a college course or courses appropriate for AmeriCorps member development through which members can earn at least 3 units of college credit, and a plan for how to enroll members in it and maximize it for program impact
  • Designation of a supervisor with the ability to provide members with high quality guidance and build their identity and esprit de corps as part of the broader National Service network, including through ensuring participation in swearing in and graduation ceremonies and National Days of Service 
  • Willingness to adhere to a uniform process to report on programmatic activities, performance measures, impacts, service hours, expenditures and required in-kind match
  • Interest in participating in a program-wide learning community

The application will also include a form for the applicant college to sign that will include required sub-agreement assurances and certifications.

This program will target colleges in the high-need geographic areas prioritized by California Volunteers. If a prioritized college commits to serving as a placement site, has a plan for recruitment, supervision, member development, and implementation of the intervention and agrees to the sub-agreement terms (including match requirements), it will receive priority onboarding as a program partner and placement site. Additional placement sites will be filled by the remaining 102 colleges located throughout the state through a competitive application process.

What service areas are prioritized by the funder, California Volunteers?

Places in California prioritized by California Volunteers are: Visalia, Porterville, Bakersfield, Lassen County, Merced County, Plumas County, Stanislaus County, Sutter County, and several areas of Los Angeles County including Huntington Park, Florence-Graham, Walnut Park, South Central/Watts, and Southeast/East Vermont.

What is the role of the Foundation for California Community Colleges in the program?

The program follows an intermediary model, in which the Foundation for California Community Colleges, in partnership with the CCC Chancellor’s Office, will serve as the hub for 20 college placement sites, providing support for local college efforts. As the intermediary, the Foundation for California Community Colleges will:

  • set uniform processes to enable the program to demonstrate program-wide impacts
  • set minimum expectations and promote preferred practices for member selection, development, supervision, and support
  • provide pre-service training and ongoing support and guidance for supervisors
  • participate in and encourage inter-college connections for mutual learning and support, including through an online Community of Practice platform to gather lessons learned and ideas for program improvement
  • develop plans for program improvement and expansion in future years
  • compile college reports into program-wide comprehensive reports to meet the requirements of California Volunteers and CNCS
  • pay college costs based on expenditures and in accordance with an approved budget, and make budget modifications as needed
  • ensure compliance with required financial recordkeeping and procedures, reporting requirements, assurances and certifications
  • serve as grantee and primary point of contact for California Volunteers

What are the performance measures of the project?

Members will need to meet three performance measures

  1. Work-based learning services OR wellness services, and
  2. Volunteer recruitment
  3. Member personal training/development

Work-based learning: Members will increase the number of students who receive general information about and coaching/assistance securing WBL opportunities through a number of outreach and one-on-one activities.

Wellness services: Members will increase student awareness of health and wellness services through a number of outreach and one-on-one activities.

Volunteer recruitment: Student Ambassadors will research community resources on and off campus, and reach out to professionals to provide presentations, tablings, resources, and/or trainings in their area of expertise.

Member training: Members will receive an initial orientation by the site supervisor (one time, 8 hours), and will receive ongoing training from their supervisor (10 hours), from experts in the field (10 hours), or through complementary courses offered at their college (62 hours). Members will participate in a swearing-in and graduation ceremony on their campus, and participate in at least one National Service Day.

Can you confirm that the only actual cash award the students will receive is the one-time $400 living allowance?

Yes, the $400 living allowance is a one-time cash award granted at the end of the service term once the hours are complete. Students also receive an education credit which can be used to pay for college expenses after the completion of the program and would enroll in a three-unit work experience class.

Can you confirm that the education award is not a cash payment and it can only be spent on further college education expenses?  How could this impact a student’s financial aid status?

The CNCS education award is not a cash payment. The Corporation for National & Community Service provides this information about the education award. The education award can be used to pay current educational expenses at eligible institutions of higher education and GI-Bill approved educational programs, to repay qualified student loans, or both. Members can access the entire award or part of it until the total amount has been used or the award expires. A member has up to seven years after his or her term of service has ended to claim the award. For more information about how the award is accessed and how it could impact financial aid or tax implications, please visit

Using your Segal Education Award >

We are concerned about recruiting students to complete 900 service hours in an academic year without an hourly wage. How are other colleges handling this?

This is a pilot project, so more information will be available after the 2017-2018 academic year. Accepted colleges will attend a program training in early September where they would be able to connect with fellow program managers and share student recruitment ideas. We have also contacted our funder, California Volunteers, for additional guidance about possible options to reduce the barriers to participation among students. We encourage colleges to explore federal work study or other match programs that might be available for students.

Can students be employed under a work study program to complete the responsibilities of a student ambassador?

As part of the program design, students must also be enrolled in an appropriate three-unit work experience course. A member may also be earning Federal Work-Study wages for serving in an AmeriCorps project. (Source)





Contact Us

Cole Forstedt
Student Ambassador Program Manager
T: 916.491.4488 



Submit any questions regarding the program to Carly Smith at

Interested Applicants Webinar

The Foundation held an interested applicant webinar to allow colleges to ask questions about program design and the application process. 

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