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Are there any costs associated with applying to the Peace Corps?
There are no application fees, and there are no fees associated with visas, passports, or plane tickets for candidates invited to serve. There are costs associated with mandatory medical screening for some applicants before being invited to serve, and all applicants who receive a formal invitation to serve. The Peace Corps provides modest cost sharing for some medical screening expenses incurred after candidates accept an invitation. More information about cost sharing is given to applicants at the time of invitation.
Do Peace Corps Volunteers get paid?
Volunteers receive a living allowance that allows you to live in a manner similar to the local people in your community. The Peace Corps also provides complete medical and dental care and covers the cost of transportation to and from your country of service. To assist with the transition back home, Volunteers who start service after October 1, 2016, are paid $9,450 (before taxes and requested allotment deductions) at the close of 27 months of service.
Will I be the only Peace Corps Volunteer in my community?
Depending on your site placement, you may be the only Volunteer in your community, which will help foster integration. In many countries, Volunteers live with a host family during service. Typically, there are opportunities to see nearby Volunteers on weekends, holidays, and for training sessions and collaborative projects. Visit the Housing and Site Location in the Preparing for Service section of the Countries where you wish to service, or contact a recruiter for more.
Can I serve with my unmarried partner?
Yes. The Peace Corps accepts unmarried couples in committed domestic partnerships. Both you and your partner must apply at the same time and qualify for assignments in the same country. The Peace Corps will only consider you as a couple, and will look to place you at the same site. Because of this, couples sometimes experience longer application periods. Couples who have been in a committed relationship for at least a year before they begin service are better able to adapt to the challenges of the Peace Corps. Unmarried couples seeking to serve as a couple must execute an affidavit attesting to their committed domestic partner relationship as part of their applications.
I want to serve with my spouse/partner. How do we apply?
Partners need to submit individual applications and, in the application, indicate that they are applying to serve with their spouse/domestic partner and provide the name of that partner. Partners should submit their applications at the same time. They should search for programs in the same country that match both of their skill sets, that accept couples, and that depart at the same time. For more information, contact a recruiter.
Is the couple’s placement process different than for an individual?
Yes. Our host countries have specific sites that can accommodate couples with adequate work to support two Volunteers. To place a couple, we must match their skills with sites that have requested their skill combination. Contact a recruiter for more information.
What is housing like?
The Peace Corps requires you to live in Peace Corps-approved housing, which will vary by country. In most countries, Volunteers are required to live with a host family for pre-service training and, in certain countries, Volunteers live with host families for the duration of their service. Visit the Housing and Site Location in the Preparing for Service section of the Countries where you would like to serve, or contact a recruiter for more information.
Do I need to get health insurance during Peace Corps service?
The Peace Corps provides full health care to Volunteers during their service. Visit Medical Care During Service to learn more. After service, the Peace Corps pays for one month of health-care coverage under AfterCorps and returned Volunteers may purchase up to two months of additional coverage. Federal retirees may suspend federal employee health benefits during service. (Talk with your retirement office to ensure that the suspension is done in a way that permits re-enrollment.) For individuals with Medicare, check with your Medicare office to find out whether if payments will continue to be deducted from your Social Security payment while you serve. You can cancel Medicare Part B (so you don’t have to pay the monthly premiums during your service) and re-enroll without penalty when you return to the U.S., as long as you submit the re-enrollment form prior to your close of service.
Information about Student Loans:
While serving, Volunteers are still responsible for any student loans they have. But, there may be benefits available to you, including deferment, partial cancellation, income-driven repayment, or forgiveness. Potential benefits depend on the type of loan you have (federal or private), the specific loan you have (Perkins, Stafford, Federal Direct, Federal Direct Consolidated, etc.), and what you intend to do after service. Research your options carefully, as you may not be eligible for all benefits and your individual circumstances will determine the best option for you.
No matter what type of loans you have, be sure to contact your lender as soon as you accept your Peace Corps invitation to see what options are available to you.
If you have federal student loans, such as Stafford, Perkins, direct, and consolidated loans, you may be eligible for deferment, partial cancellation, income-driven repayment, or eligibility for the Public Loan Service Forgiveness Program during Peace Corps service. Volunteers with Perkins loans may be eligible for a 15–70 percent cancellation benefit. Contact FedLoan Servicing at 855.265.4038 or visit studentloans.gov to determine what type of loans you have, and if they are eligible.
If you have a private loan, you will need to contact your loan servicer to see if they provide any student loan relief for Peace Corps Volunteer service.
Public Loan Service Forgiveness
Peace Corps Volunteer service is considered qualifying employment for the Department of Education's Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) Program. If you are working full-time for a qualifying employer, PSLF forgives the remainder of certain federal loans after 120 monthly payments are made under a qualifying repayment plan. Under a qualifying repayment plan, your payments could be $0 per month while volunteering. Signing up at the beginning of your service allows you to make the greatest number of qualifying payments.
Please note that the Peace Corps cannot grant or deny student loan deferment, cancellation, or forgiveness. Student loan relief policies are up to your lenders, so please contact your lenders to determine what options are available and what makes the most sense for you.