December 14, 2017 (WASHINGTON, DC) — Without action from Congress on or before December 22, 2017, the federal government will be forced to shut down, preventing funding from reaching important programs, including the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) — which runs AmeriCorps and Senior Corps programs — and Federal Work Study.
The federal fiscal year began on October 1, but Congress has voted several times to delay its funding decisions until December 22, allowing all funding to flow as it has been for the past year until they are able to work out a full package. December 22 is rapidly approaching, and we must now come together to demand that Congress prioritizes national service and work-study in the federal budget! Investing in AmeriCorps and Federal Work Study is a commitment to America’s future. National service opportunities not only provide invaluable work experience and Segal AmeriCorps Education Awards to help defray the costs of higher education, but provide communities with critical services including early education through programs like Jumpstart. As if those reasons weren’t enough to invest federal funds in CNCS, national service has a return on investment of 4-to-1 — national service is the right economic decision. Federal Work Study is also a two-for-one deal: it provides college students with work opportunities such as serving directly in preschool classrooms through Jumpstart, and helps students lower their overall student loan debt burden. By funding the Federal Work Study program, Congress will allow students to graduate more quickly, afford the soaring costs of higher education, and be better prepared for the workforce after school.
In addition to funding for CNCS and Federal Work Study, we must raise our voices to ensure that Congress reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) this year. CHIP provides free healthcare to children in low-income and middle-class families, allowing all children to access check-ups, immunizations, prescriptions, and hospital stays. Congress failed to reauthorize this program when it expired on September 30, 2017 and some states are already running out of funds to continue to provide life-saving medical care to children. This is unacceptable.
Before December 22, call your members of Congress and tell them to protect CNCS and Federal Work Study in the federal budget, and to restore funding for CHIP! See Jumpstart’s Advocacy 101 Brief for tips and information about contacting your elected officials.