Application Instructions

The service year for Digital Arts Service Corps members starts and ends in July. The application process for the 2010-2011 DASCorps year has ended but next year’s process will begin in spring 2011. If you are an organization in need of a Digital Arts Service Corps member please contact our Program Direction, Ben Sheldon.

All applicants must be a US Citizen, at least 18 years old, and have experience or education in the field.

Benefits of Service

Even though the pay is low AmeriCorps*VISTA provides a number of tangible benefits including an end of the year cash reward, putting your student loans on hold, health benefits, and more.

Living Allowance

Every AmeriCorps*VISTA receives a bi-weekly paycheck the size of which is determined by the poverty level of the city where they are serving. In 2010-2011 bi-weekly paychecks ranged from $410 - $584.

Additional Living Assistance

Every host organization that is approved to receive a Digital Arts Service Corps member must provide some form of additional support. This could come in the form of rental assistance, transportation assistance, or a prepaid grocery card.

End of Service Benefits

After successfully completing a year of service, VISTA members are eligible for either (not both):

- $5,350 Education Award to pay for college tuition or pay-off qualified student loans: it expires after 7 years, or
- $1,500 Cash Stipend that is paid as a lump sum in their last paycheck.

A full year – 12 months – of service must be completed in order to receive one of these benefits. Except in exceedingly rare circumstances (death in your immediate family, personal catastrophic health problem or the complete dissolution of the Transmission Project and Digital Arts Service Corps) these benefits will not be prorated if the VISTA terminates or leaves early. All or nothing, basically.

Student Loan Deferment

During VISTA service, payments on student loans may be delayed through either deferment or forbearance:

- Loan Deferment means that payments do not have to be made and no interest accrues
- Loan Forbearance means that you don’t have to make payment, but interest dues accrue. If the Education Award is selected, the Corporation for National and Community Service will pay the interest that does accrue on all qualified student loans.

Not all loans are eligible to be paid off by the Education Award. Only qualified student loans can be repaid with the Education Award.

National Service legislation defines a “qualified student loan” as an educational loan backed by the federal government or a state agency. The most common are subsidized and unsubsidized Stafford loans, William D. Perkins Direct loans, Federal Consolidated loans and subsidized and unsubsidized Ford loans. If you have a Perkins loan, you may qualify for a partial cancellation of your loan.

Call your lender to make sure that you’re loan is eligible for deferral or forbearance, or is qualified for use with the Education Award!

You can learn more about loan postponements, interest payments, and financial aid by visiting the official AmeriCorps website.

Health, Childcare and Other Benefits

AmeriCorps*VISTA service may expose members to some of the hardships experienced by the 40 million Americans who are living in poverty. While these do place increased burdens upon their daily life, the Digital Arts Service Corps, the Transmission Project, and every host organization is aware of this and makes allowances for the extra time one may need to spend on seeking care or services.

Because of federal laws, most social services, such as food stamps or childcare, are not affected by the AmeriCorps living allowance if you sign up for them prior to becoming an AmeriCorps*VISTA member. Below is more information on specific social services one may wish to pursue prior to becoming a VISTA – though you probably will still be eligible if you sign up after your AmeriCorps service begins.

Official Health Benefits

AmeriCorps*VISTA members receive health benefits (though not technically health
insurance) through the Corporation for National Service managed Seven Corners health plan. In brief, this plan covers catastrophic injury (e.g. anytime you are in pain) and prescription drugs, but not preventative health (e.g. general physicals). Many questions can be answered on their Frequently Asked or by calling them at (866) 699-4186
For a list of doctors, visit

Alternative Healthcare Options

If a parent or spouse’s healthcare plan already covers you, you can elect to opt-out of the official AmeriCorps healthcare plan.

Your state may provide free or reduced-cost healthcare for low-income individuals that is superior to or less expensive than the healthcare offered through AmeriCorps. Check your states website to learn what health options may be available (look for links to Health):


You may be eligible for childcare, but we highly recommend contacting the Transmission Project before your Pre-Service Orientation in order to go over your options. Dependent children must be under 13 years of age and live with you. AmeriCorps’ childcare is limited to $300 per month per family regardless of the number of children. More information can be found at

SNAP (Food Stamps)

As a VISTA, you should be eligible for food stamps because of your monthly income. You may receive as much as $200 per month for food stamps, which can mean the difference between making and breaking your budget. But, your eligibility may also depend on your current assts such as savings, stocks or retirement accounts: usually less than $2,000 but check your local requirements.

A directory of food stamp application offices.

Proof of Income and Service

Contact the Transmission Project for a letter certifying your VISTA service and monthly income (or download one here). Most public service programs will require proof of income or evidence that you are serving as an AmeriCorps*VISTA member. The Transmission Project can also be helpful if your local social service office doesn’t want to provide you benefits to which you are legally entitled.

Trainings and Professional Development

Being a member of the Digital Arts Service Corps also gives you access to a number of training opportunities, workshops, and conferences at no expense to the VISTA.

Pre-Service Orientation

Before your year of service begins every DASCorps member attends a Pre Service Orientation organized by the Massachusetts State AmeriCorps office and the Transmission Project. During this 5-day training DASCorps members will receive an introduction into the field of public media and technology and how their role as Vistas fits into that field. Travel to and from PSO, Room and Board, and all trainings are free for DASCorps members.

One National Conference

Every DASCorps member will attend at least one national conference during his or her year of service. Each host organization has budgeted up to $1000 to send their DASCorps members to a national conference in the field of public media and technology. The $1000 allotted can be used for food, hotel, registration, and transportation. The funds can only be used for one national conference; it cannot be split and used for two separate events. In past years DASCorps members have been to NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference, Alliance for Community Media’s National Conference, South By Southwest’s Interactive week, DrupalCon and more.

The DASCorps VISTA Leaders will be sending out interesting conferences over the list serve through the year but if you would like to be proactive ask your supervisor, coworkers, fellow DASCorps members, your leaders, or Transmission Project staff for their suggestions on conferences that they think will benefit your work. Also its better to attend a conference earlier on during your year of service so you can take advantage of the contacts you have made. The Transmission Project keeps a list of events on their website which includes online, regional and national trainings.

In Service Training Funds (IST Funds)

AmeriCorps*VISTA members are encouraged to seek out professional development opportunities and trainings. During the first 5 months of service, members are eligible to have up to $150 of training fees (though not transportation or lodging if out-of-area) reimbursed. Trainings must relate to the member's service and members cannot take more than 1 college-level course (for credit) at a time (and must receive prior approval).
Send us ( an email at least 2 weeks before the training stating:
- Official course events/description and cost, preferably a website link to the course;
- Place, date and time (or duration) of training;
- Brief description of how this course will support you in your assignment;
- State in your request that your Supervisor has approved the training, and cc them in the email request
Once you receive approval and register for the course, you will be asked to submit your receipt for reimbursement.

2010-2011 Payroll

Paydate Pay Period
August 23, 2010 July 27 - August 9, 2010
September 6, 2010 August 10 - August 23, 2010
September 20, 2010 August 24 - September 6, 2010
October 4, 2010 September 7 - September 20, 2010
October 18, 2010 September 21 - October 4, 2010
November 1, 2010 October 5 - October 18, 2010
November 15, 2010 October 19 - November 1, 2010
November 29, 2010 November 2 - November 15, 2010
December 13, 2010 November 16 - November 29, 2010
December 27, 2010 November 30 - December 13, 2010
January 10, 2011 December 14 - December 27, 2010
January 24, 2011 December 28 - January 10, 2011
February 7, 2011 January 11 - January 24, 2011
February 21, 2011 January 25 - February 7, 2011
March 7, 2011 February 8 - February 21, 2011
March 21, 2011 February 22 - March 7, 2011
April 4, 2011 March 8 - March 21, 2011
April 18, 2011 March 22 - April 4, 2011
May 2, 2011 April 5 - April 18, 2011
May 16, 2011 April 19 - May 2, 2011
May 30, 2011 May 3 - May 16, 2011
June 13, 2011 May 17 - May 30, 2011
June 27, 2011 May 31 - June 13, 2011
July 11, 2011 June 14 - June 27, 2011
July 25, 2011 June 28 - July 11, 2011
August 8, 2011 July 12 - July 25, 2011
August 22, 2011 July 26 - July 30, 2011

The last day of the 2010-2011 service year is July 30, 2011.

Note: Because the last pay period is only 5 days and VISTAs usually receive a check for 2 weeks of work, the final living stipend paycheck will by 5/14 of what they are use to receiving.