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Students in Service

Memo as of February 29, 2012


Dear Students in Service AmeriCorps Program Member:


First, we would like to thank you for your commitment to serving in your community through the Students in Service AmeriCorps (SIS) Program. What you have been doing is important and makes a difference in your community. Unfortunately, we have some very disappointing news to share with you.
The program is being terminated effective Wednesday, February 29, 2012. While the program has had many positive impacts in our communities as well as supported college students in gaining valuable civic and work force skills, there were problems with the program that could not be fixed this year.

BACKGROUND
Over the last several months, the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) and the Students in Service (SIS) AmeriCorps staff have been diligently evaluating our program’s policy and procedure compliance. Collectively, we’ve reviewed several position descriptions and member files. While most SIS members were performing a valuable service to their community, there were a few instances in which members were engaged in prohibited or unallowable activities per AmeriCorps and SIS guidelines. Even though it is very likely that these violations of AmeriCorps and SIS guidelines were not done intentionally, they still damaged the credibility of the overall program.

While we’ve identified some of the key challenges, we could not correct them during this program year. The result is that the program needed to be terminated immediately.
We are sorry that this action needed to be taken and if there were any other options, we would have pursued them, but there were not. We fully understand that this is very likely to have negative impacts on you and your community service sites. For that, we are deeply sorry.

While it does not make up for the disappointment of closing the program, we are able to offer a pro-rated education award for the allowable service hours you complete through Wednesday, February 29, 2012. For some of you, you may be able to come close to your full education award by this date, while others, you may only have just started with your service.


WHAT DOES THIS MEAN TO YOU?

1. The SIS program will be terminated as of the end of Wednesday, February 29, 2012. That means that you may not count any service hours after that date.

2. You will receive a pro-rated educational award based on allowable hours served through Wednesday, February 29, 2012. To be eligible for the pro-rated education award, you must: submit all time logs and exit paperwork by Thursday, March 15, 2012 (failure to do so may result in you being exited with “no award”) submit a new position description/site agreement , if you have not done so already, with your final time log and exit paperwork have completed at least 15% of your service hours (300, 450, or 900) 15% of 300 = 45 hours 15% of 450 = 67.5 hours 15% of 900 = 135 hours
NOTE: If you completed less than 15% of your term of service hours, you will be exited with no award and your term of service will not count against the four terms of AmeriCorps service you are allowed in a lifetime.

3. The last day that you can count service hours is Wednesday, February 29, 2012. No hours past this date will be allowable.

4. Your SIS campus coordinator will review your position descriptions/site agreements for any prohibited activities and/or unallowable service and review your member file for completeness before exiting you from the SIS program. Any hours found unallowable and/or prohibited will be disallowed before you are exited with a pro-rated education award per federal regulations If you think that any of your service hours might be unallowable or prohibited, please review your position description/site agreement and time logs with your SIS campus coordinator. It is really important to do this before being exited from the program. As a reminder, prohibited/unallowable service includes:

a. Any service that is listed on the “List of Prohibited Activities”
b. Any service that is purely administrative/clerical in nature and is not in support of the direct service you are giving to your community
c. Any service completed at or through an elected official’s office (even if it is community service focused)
d. Any service completed for the benefit of the college campus and its students and not directly for the community (except in service-learning centers where the member is mobilizing other student volunteers). If you are unsure whether it is allowed, contact your SIS campus coordinator
e. Any service hours conducted and entered on your first time log that is before your official enrollment date
f. Any service hours after Wednesday, February 29, 2012
g. Any hours on time sheets that are not signed and dated by the member or site supervisor or that do not list the service activities performed


NEXT STEPS

1. Continue serving through Wednesday, February 29, 2012 (no hours after this date will be accepted).

2. Submit all required paperwork (time logs, new position description/site agreement forms, and exit forms) to your campus coordinator by Thursday, March 15, 2012. Please make sure all forms have the correct signatures and dates on them.

3. Your SIS campus coordinator will be reviewing your member file for completeness before you are exited. Your SIS campus coordinator may ask you for additional information to complete your member file or may ask you to make corrections on forms (ex. missing signature and/or date on a time log) that are needed before you can be exited from the SIS program.

4. You may choose to continue serving in your community, but you cannot accumulate more hours as a SIS AmeriCorps member after February 29, 2012. If you do choose to continue volunteering at your previous service site, notify them that the SIS program is no longer active. This means they will no longer need to sign time logs, member agreements, etc.

5. Share with your service site that the termination of SIS does not reflect poorly on their agency.

6. Talk with your campus coordinator about other opportunities to serve in your community.

7. Consider other AmeriCorps opportunities by visiting www.americorps.gov.


While we are very disappointed that we are unable to continue this program at this time, we are so grateful for the thousands of students, like you, who have dedicated their time, talent and passions to make a difference in our local and global communities. Please do not let the termination of this one program deter you from continuing to serve in your communities. You are needed and appreciated.

Regards,
The Students in Service AmeriCorps Program Staff