Glossary of National Service Terms


The "domestic Peace Corps" is a national service program that provides thousands of Americans of all ages and backgrounds with education awards in exchange for a year or two of community service.

AmeriCorps Member

An individual serving on a full-time or part-time basis in an AmeriCorps program who is eligible to receive an education award or alternative post service benefit. AmeriCorps members are not “employees”; they are not “apprentices”: they are not typical volunteers.


A residential national service program that provides opportunities for young Americans (ages 18-24) to meet critical needs in various communities throughout the United States. The Corps focuses on projects that protect and conserve natural resources, promote public safety and help meet the educational and human needs of people in the community, and is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.

AmeriCorps*National Direct

AmeriCorps programs that receive funding directly from the Corporation to supports national and multi-state nonprofit organizations, federal agencies, and professional corps.


This term refers to those programs in the AmeriCorps National Service Network funded through grants to state commissions: local, state, and national nonprofit organizations: federal agencies; and Indian tribes and territories that address unmet community needs.

AmeriCorps*State Competitive Programs

AmeriCorps programs selected by a national competitive process and funded through State Commissions with funds from the Corporation.

AmeriCorps*State Formula Programs

AmeriCorps programs funded out of the state allotment that is determined annually on a population formula.

AmeriCorps Tribes and Territories

Programs that receive grants directly from the Corporation to meet the needs of Native American Tribes and the territories of American Samoa, Guam, the Virgin Islands, and the commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands.


Part of the AmeriCorps national service programs. VISTA brings more than thirty years of history mobilizing resources in low-income communities nationwide. AmeriCorps*VISTA provides a one year, full-time opportunity for members to build capacity in communities. It also empowers low-income residents to solve problems for themselves and face challenges with renewed strength and hope. AmeriCorps*VISTA is administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service.


Applies only to programs that are currently in their first or second year of operation within a three-year grant cycle. This request should demonstrate your progress in achieving program goals and any plans for improvement.

Corporation for National and Community Service ("The Corporation") (CNCS)

The federally established corporation, which funds and administers AmeriCorps, as well as Learn and Serve America and the Senior Service Corps. Authorized by the National and Community Service Act of 1993 and exists as part of the USA Freedom Corps.


A team or group, generally used to refer to AmeriCorps members. This word is pronounced “core” (as in "apple core").

Corps member benefits

AmeriCorps member benefits do not include paid time off, paid holidays, or paid sick leave. Time is credited, however, for voter registration, voting, jury duty, and military reserve and guard duty (for a period of no more than the two-week annual active duty). Also included in AmeriCorps member benefits are training/education, health insurance (for full-time corps members not otherwise covered), and child care (for eligible full-time corps members).

Direct service

Direct service is not generally considered to be clerical duty for an agency; it is not answering the AmeriCorps phone. Direct service is providing service directly to the community and/or community residents. Direct service may be tutoring, cleaning a river bed, teaching English, painting a home, assisting a teacher, counseling a crime victim, or teaching someone CPR.

Education Award

An award provided to a member who has successfully completed a required term of service in an approved national service position and who otherwise meets the eligibility criteria in the act. An education award may be used: (1) to repay qualified student loans, as defined in the act; (2) toward the cost of attendance at an institution of higher education, as those terms are defined in the act; and (3) toward expenses incurred in participating in school-to-work programs approved by the Secretaries of Labor and Education.

Education Awards Program (EAP or Education Award Only)

An AmeriCorps program that receives minimal operating funds from the Corporation and that generally pays no living allowance to AmeriCorps members or the living allowance is paid from local funds.


Uses scientifically-based research methods to systematically investigate, on a periodic basis, the effectiveness of AmeriCorps Programs by comparing the observed program outcomes with what would have happened in the absence of the program.


The direct recipient or the sub-recipient/site of this grant. The term sub-grantee shall be substituted for the term grantee where appropriate. The grantee is legally accountable to the Corporation for the use of grant funds and is bound by the provisions of the grant.

Host Site

This is an entity that acts as a project sponsor and is responsible for the actual site on which a project is to be performed. This entity may provide task specific training, technical assistance supervision, or other services as agreed to in a “contract” between the program and the host site.

In-Kind Services

Donations of goods and/or services (vs. monetary donations).

Living Allowance

Some AmeriCorps members receive a modest living allowance during their term of service. This is a benefit in addition to the education award available to members who successfully complete their terms of service.


Means an individual:

  1. Who is enrolled in an approved national service position;
  2. Who is a U.S. citizen, U.S. national, or lawful permanent resident alien of the United States;
  3. Who is at least 17 years of age at the commencement of service unless the member is out of school and enrolled i. In a full-time, year-round youth corps program or full-time summer program as defined in the act (42 U.S.C. 12572 (a) (2)), in which case he or she must be between the ages of 16 and 25, inclusive, or ii. In a program for economically disadvantaged youth as defined in the act (42 U.S.C. 12572 (a)(9)), in which case he or she must be between the ages of 16 and 24, inclusive;
  4. Has a high school diploma or an equivalency certificate (or agrees to obtain a high school diploma or its equivalent before using an education award) and who has not dropped out of elementary or secondary school in order to enroll as an AmeriCorps member (unless enrolled in an institution of higher education on an ability to benefit basis and is considered eligible for funds under section 484 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, 20 U.S.C. 1091), or who has been determined through an independent assessment conducted by the program to be incapable of obtaining a high school diploma or its equivalent (provided that the Corporation’s AmeriCorps Program Office has waived the education attainment requirement for the individual).

Member Service Year (MSY)

The equivalent of one full-time term of service.

National and Community Service Act of 1990

Originally passed by Congress and signed into law in 1990 to establish the Commission on National and Community Service, the Act of 1990 was amended significantly by the National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993 to establish the Corporation for National and Community Service.

National and Community Service Trust Act of 1993

Created AmeriCorps and the Corporation for National and Community Service. The act authorizes funding appropriations for AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve programs, and the Points of Light Foundation.

National Service

Any Corporation funded program, including AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and National Senior Service Corps, regardless of whether such program offers stipends or educational awards. ("national service" in lower case refers to the broader field of national efforts, including those operating abroad, like Peace Corps and those focused on military, rather than civilian service).

National Service Trust

The account established in the U.S. Department of the Treasury under the act (42 U.S.C. 12601) for the purpose of holding and making payments of education awards and other education benefits to AmeriCorps members.

Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO)

A legal notification, published in the Federal Register, announcing the availability of funds for a new grant program.


The Federal government’s Office of Management and Budget assists the President in preparing the annual federal budget and oversees its execution. OMB must approve the Corporation’s regulations, applications, forms, and any other documents that will affect the public.

Request for Proposals (RFP)

A term which some states use to describe the document with which they solicit program proposals from organizations. Other states may call such a document a grant application or bid. State Commissions will issue RFPs for AmeriCorps programs from nonprofit organizations, local governments, higher education institutions, Tribes, and state agencies.

Serve, Service

Whenever possible, the terms serve and service should be used rather than work when referring to AmeriCorps members' activities.

Service Recipient

A community beneficiary who receives a service or benefit from the service of AmeriCorps members.

Service Site

A service site is not a “work” site; it is not a “job” site. It is a service site— a place where service is being performed by corpsmembers and perhaps other people who are volunteers and/or employees.

Sexual Harrassment

Sexual harassment is unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature that:

  1. The harasser's conduct must be unwelcome. However, keep in mind that any harassment directed toward a child is unwelcome, because children are not of an age to consent. This includes any site team member or adult volunteer dates or texts an underage volunteer.
  1. The victim as well as the harasser may be a male or female, child or adult. The victim does not have to be of the opposite sex. Sexual harassment can occur between any group of individuals, including but not limited to, child-to-child, volunteer to child, site supervisor to mentor, mentor-to-mentor, community coordinator to volunteer.
  1. The harasser can be a site supervisor, a community coordinator, a mentor, a volunteer, a child, or another person working on site (i.e., custodian, kitchen worker, bus driver).
  1. The victim does not have to be the person harassed but could be anyone affected by the offensive conduct.


A living allowance given to an AmeriCorps member.


An organization receiving AmeriCorps grant funds from a grantee of the Corporation.


Training and technical assistance, provided by the Corporation, by staff of the state commission, by a national TA provider, or by any one else.

Glossary originally developed by Nevada Volunteers -