FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: ETHAN ZINDLER
APRIL 30, 1993 202/456-6444
April 30, 1993
OUTLINE OF LEGISLATION
NATIONAL SERVICE INITIATIVE
President Clinton's national service program will expand
educational opportunity, reward individual responsibility, and
build the American community by bringing citizens together to
tackle common problems. The President's support for service
extends from the youngest elementary students to our oldest
citizens, and includes everything from part-time volunteer
activities to full-time public service jobs.
The centerpiece of the President's initiative to support
service is a new program to offer education awards to Americans
who make a substantial commitment to service. In addition to
this program, which builds on the youth corps and demonstration
programs of the National and Community Service Act of 1990, the
National Service Trust Act includes:
Extension and improvement of programs in the National
and Community Service Act of 1990 that enhance elementary
and secondary education through community service in
schools, support after-school and summer programs for
school-age youth, and fund service programs on college
Support for the Points of Light Foundation, to support
Extension and improvement of VISTA and the Older
American Volunteer Programs authorized by the Domestic
Volunteer Service Act.
Creation of a new Investment Fund for Quality and
Innovation to support model service programs and activities
designed to ensure the development of high quality national
Focus of Service
National service must address unmet educational,
environmental, human, or public safety needs. National
priorities may be established within these areas.
National service must improve the life of the participants,
through citizenship education and training.
Participants may not displace or duplicate the functions of
Corporation for National Service
The national service program will be administered by a new
government Corporation for National Service, created by combining
two existing independent federal agencies, the Commission on
National and Community Service and ACTION.
The corporation will be responsible for administering all
programs authorized under the National and Community Service Act
and Domestic Volunteer Service Act, including VISTA and the Older
American Volunteer Programs. The Corporation will also fund
training and technical assistance, service clearinghouses and
The investment division of the corporation will administer
the new trust program and programs currently administered by the
Commission on National and Community Service.
The operating division will administer programs currently
run by the ACTION agency, including VISTA and the Older American
Flexible and quality-driven personnel policies will include
pay-for-performance and a 5-year limit on most tenures.
The Corporation may solicit and accept private funds.
The corporation will have an eleven-member volunteer Board
of Directors appointed by the President and confirmed by the
Senate. It will be bipartisan and include persons experienced in
national service and experts in providing educational,
environmental, human need, or public safety service.
The first Board members will be appointed primarily from the
Board of Directors of the Commission on National and Community
Service. Seven Cabinet secretaries will serve as non-voting exoffio
The Board will develop the corporation's strategic plan,
approve grant decisions, review other policy and personnel
decisions, receive and act on reports from the Inspector General,
supervise evaluations, and advise the Corporation on all issues.
A Chairperson of the Board and a Managing Director for each
division will full-time employees appointed by the President and
confirmed by the Senate.
An Inspector General will oversee programs to guard against
fraud and abuse.
Programs must arrange for independent audits and
evaluations, and may also be required to participate in national
or state evaluations.
In order to receive a grant, each state must establish a
commission on national service. The corporation will provide
funding for the state commission.
Commissions will have members appointed by the governors on
a bipartisan basis from among the following: youth, educators,
representatives of youth sorps, older American volunteer
programs, and other nonprofit service providers, labor, business,
and experts in meeting particular unmet needs. No more than 25
percent of voting members may be state officials, although
additional state agency representatives may sit on the
commissions as non-voting ex-officio members. Commissions will
elect their own chair.
A representative of the corporation will sit on each
commission as a voting member and act as liaison between the
commission and the corporation.
State commissions will be responsible for selecting programs
to be funded under the state formula allocation, and in any
competitive grant states may request.
State commissions must also design strategic plans for
service in the states, recruit participants, and disseminate
information about service opportunities.
State commissions may also support clearinghouses, training
and technical assistance, and other initiatives to support
service. They may not operate national service programs, but may
use a portion of funds to support programs run by state agencies.
For a period of one year, existing state agencies may assume
the responsibility of state commissions.
The Corporation may approve an alternative agency in place
of a commission at a state's request, if the agency ensures
diverse participation in policy making.
Allocation of Funds
States submitting plans approved by the Corporation will
receive on-third of funds according to a population-based formula
and one-third on a competitive basis.
One-third of funds will be allocated directly by the
corporation. Programs eligible for priority consideration
include federal programs, national nonprofit organizations
operating multiple programs or competitive grant programs,
national service initiative in more than one state and meeting
priority needs, proposals to replicate successful programs in
more than one state, professorial corps, and innovative national
Programs must set measurable goals regarding the impact of
the service on the community and on participants.
Programs eligible for national service designation include
diverse community corps, youth corps, specialized service
programs focusing on a specific community need, individual
placement programs, campus-base service programs, programs that
train and place service-learning coordinators in schools or team
leaders in corps programs, intergenerational programs, national
service entrepreneurship programs, and professional corps.
Programs may be run by non-profit organizations, institution
of higher education, local governments, school districts, states,
or federal agencies.
Programs may not provide direct benefits to for-profit
businesses, labor unions, or partisan political organizations, or
involve participants in religious activities.
Selection criteria include quality (based on criteria
developed in consultation with experts in the field), innovation,
sustainability, and replicability of programs.
Past experience and management skills of program leadership,
involvement of participants in leadership roles, and the extent
to which the program builds on existing programs will also be
taken into account.
Programs serving and recruiting participants from
communities of need, including those designated as enterprise
zones, community redevelopment areas, areas with high poverty
rates, environmentally distress areas, and communities adversely
affected by decreased defense spending will also receive special
All participants will receive educational awards.
To develop programs, one-year planning grants will be
available. To support national service participants, three-year
renewable grants will be available for program demonstration,
expansion, or replication.
Administrative costs will be limited to five percent of all
grants other than planning grants.
Programs must pay 15 percent of the stipend and health care
benefits in cash and 25 percent of other program costs receiving
federal support. The 25 percent match my be in cash or in kind
from any source other than programs funded under the National and
Community Service or Domestic Volunteer Service Acts.
Federal funds must supplement, not supplant, state and
Individuals may serve before, during, or after postsecondary
In general, participants may be age 17 or older. Youth corps
participants may be age 16 or older.
Participants must be high school graduates or agree to
achieve the GED prior to receiving educational awards.
Participants will be recruited and selected on a
nondiscriminatory basis without regard to political affiliation
by local programs designated by states or the federal government.
A national or state recruitment system will help interested
individuals locate placements in local programs. Information
about available positions will be widely disseminate through high
schools, colleges and other placement offices. A special
leadership corps may be recruited, trained, and placed to assist
in the development of new national service programs.
Term of Service
To earn an educational award, a participant must take part
in one year of full-time or two years of part-time service in a
program designated by a state or the federal government. An
individual may serve up to two terms and earn up to two
Educational awards of $5,000 will be provided for a term of
service. Educational awards may be used to repay loans for
higher education or to pay for higher education or training.
Educational awards will be federally funded and deposited
into a national service trust on behalf of all participant
accepted into the program. Organizations and individual may
donate funds to support national service participants in the
Payments will be made directly to qualified post-secondary
educational institutions including two- and four-year colleges,
training programs, and graduate or professional programs.
In the case of participants with outstanding loan
obligations for qualified educational activities, awards will be
paid directly to lenders.
Awards will not be taxable and must be used within five
years of receipt.
Programs will set stipends within program guidelines.
However, federal support will be limited to a match of 85 percent
of an annual stipend equivalent to benefits received by VISTA
volunteers. Programs may provide additional stipends up to twice
this amount, with no federal match for the portion of the stipend
in excess of the VISTA benefit.
In the limited case of designated professional corps in
areas of great need, such as teaching and public safety in
underserved areas, participants may be paid a salary in excess of
the guidelines and receive an educational award. However, no
federal support will be available for a stipend.
Health and Child Care
All participants without access to health insurance will
receive health coverage. Federal dollars will pay up to 85
percent of the cost of these benefits.
Participants may receive child care assistance, if needed.
The proposal extends and expands the existing Serve-America
program for school-age youth and Higher Education Innovative
Projects for Community Service. Modifications to these programs
are described below.
To build a foundation for service among the nation's youth,
inspiring them to serve and instilling in them the values and
attitude to serve effectively after graduation.
To create opportunities for all American children to serve
Types of Programs
Programs may be partnerships of local education agencies an
Local educational agencies may receive planning grants to
hire service-learning coordinators.
Types of Funding
School-based programs will be eligible for funding through
state educational agencies, partly based on formula and partly
State educational agencies must develop state plans that
indicate programs to be funded and detail 3-year strategies for
service-learning in theirs states. The Corporation must approve
Programs may receive one-year planning grants for schoolbased
programs. Subgranting to experienced institutions for
school-based programs will also be allowed.
All local programs will be required to provide at least 10
percent of total program costs in the first year of funding,
increasing to 50 percent in the fourth. Local programs may
utilize other federal education funds to meet the match
Training and Technical Assistance
Clearinghouses will be expanded to further enable them to
disseminate information and curriculum materials; train teachers,
service sponsors and participants; and provide needs assessments
or technical assistance.
States will also receive additional resources to train and
educate state educational personnel.
Community-based Program for School-Age Youth
Community-based organizations working with school-age youth
may receive grants from the State Commission for programs to
involve such youth in community service.
National non-profit organizations may apply to the
Corporation to make subgrants or run multi-state communityservice
programs for this population.
Higher Education Innovative Projects
Higher Education institutions, consortia of such
institutions, or partnerships of higher education institutions
and non-profit institutions may receive grants from the
Corporation for student community-service programs or programs to
train teachers in service-learning methods.
Funds may supplement College Work-Study funds being used for
community service placements.
EXTENSION OF THE DOMESTIC VOLUNTEER SERVICE ACT OF 1973
The proposal extends and expands VISTA and Older American
Volunteer Programs authorized by the Domestic Volunteer Service
Act. Following a transition period, these programs will be
administered by the Corporation for National Service.
Extends authority for the VISTA program and increases number
of VISTA volunteers.
Authorizes new VISTA Summer Associate program.
Authorizes a University Year for VISTA program to encourage
student volunteer efforts addressing the needs of low-income
Removes restrictions limiting the flexibility to manage
VISTA, while reaffirming commitment to recruiting a diverse group
of VISTA volunteers including young and older adults.
Increases post-service stipends by $30 for each month of
service. Such stipends are not available if VISTA volunteer
accepts an educational award under the national service trust.
Continues support for VISTA Literacy Corps.
Special Volunteer Programs
Provides broadened authority under the Special Volunteer
Programs to supporting demonstrations and innovations, provide
technical assistance, and promote other entrepreneurial
activities. Eliminates specific authority for student community
service and drug programs, which are covered under the broadened
demonstration authority and under the National and Community
Older American Volunteer Programs
Renames the Older American Volunteer Programs as National
Senior Volunteer Corps and the Retire Senior Volunteer Program as
the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP)
Lowers eligibility age for participation in the RSVP program
Clarifies the Foster Grandparents may work with children
with special and exceptional needs in Head Start programs,
schools, and day care centers.
Provides for a new demonstration authority to enrich and
strengthen older American volunteer programs across the country.
Eliminates restrictions that limit the flexibility to
administer the program.
Increases the stipend for low-income Foster Grandparents and
Senior Companion once over the next five years to account for
Encourages relationships between ACTION and other federal
agencies where ACTION volunteers might help further the purposes
of other Federal programs.
Authorizes a Center for Research and Training on
Volunteerism to strengthen volunteer programs across the country.
Provides a technical amendment to restore the crediting of
VISTA service for federal pensions.
Provides a copyright for the programs authorized under the