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Can’t Find a Job? Think Outside the Box: Consider the Peace Corps

Can’t Find a Job? Think Outside the Box: Consider the Peace Corps

By Lauren Bayne Anderson

February 08, 2011

If you haven’t been able to find a job and don’t want to go back to school, there’s another option you may not have considered. One that allows you to travel, pays off your student loans, allows you to help change the world, and looks GREAT on your resume. What is this dream experience you ask? The Peace Corps.

The Peace Corps is a volunteer program run in cooperation with the U.S. Government. The Peace Corps provides technical assistance to host countries, helps people outside the United States to understand U.S. culture, and helps Americans understand the cultures of other countries. Work is generally related to social and economic development – everything from AIDS education to environmental preservation. The Peace Corps has operated in 139 host countries and boasts over 200,000 volunteer alumni.

All About the Money

What’s so great about the Peace Corps from a financial perspective? There are quite a few benefits that may surprise you.

On the top of the list of benefits is student loans. Without a job it’s pretty difficult to pay them. But, many loans are eligible for deferment and others for partial cancellation if you join the Corps. Federal student loans including Stafford (formerly known as guaranteed student loans), Perkins, direct and consolidation loans can be deferred. Additionally, some private loans may be deferred during Peace Corps service.

Perkins loans are eligible for cancelation. Here’s how it works: Fifteen percent of your Perkins are cancelled upon the completion of each year. Four years of service would equal a 70 percent cancellation.

Free Travel
All your expenses are paid to and from the country you’re serving. Plus, you get two vacation days a month—more time to explore the region you’re serving in.

Health Insurance
You don’t have to worry about being able to see a doctor or a dentist while you’re serving – it’s covered. Plus, your benefits are extended for 18 months after your service ends for an affordable fee.

Cold Hard Cash
You get a monthly stipend to cover living and housing expenses. And depending on what part of the world you’re serving in, that money can go a long way. Plus, $7,425 to transition back to the “real world” after your 27 months of service is completed.

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