Benefits During Service
Pay and Living Expenses
The Peace Corps provides each Volunteer with housing and a living stipend that enables him or her to live in a manner similar to the local people in the community, covering food and incidentals. It also covers the cost of transportation to and from the country of service. Unlike other international volunteer programs, there is no fee to participate in the Peace Corps.
All Volunteers receive comprehensive medical and dental benefits. The benefits start with coverage of vaccinations and anti-malarial prescription (if needed), which begin prior to departure. Each post has a Peace Corps Medical Officer to provide primary care. Full medical insurance during service covers 100% of primary care, hospitalization, medical evacuation, and all prescriptions, including birth control and dental care needs. Volunteers are also covered by workers’ compensation for injuries incurred during their period of service.
Deferment and Cancellation of Student Loans
School loan deferments exist for several federal programs (i.e., Stafford, Perkins, direct, and consolidated loans). Volunteers with Perkins loans may be eligible for a 15–70 percent cancellation benefit. Peace Corps Volunteer Service is considered “qualifying employment” for the Department of Education's Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program. Details, instructions and frequently-asked-questions for PSLF can be found at the Department of Education's website and at PSLF information. 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. Because the rules that authorize deferment are subject to change and determinations are made by the lending institution, it is best to talk to your lender about how this benefit applies to your particular situation.
For more information about deferment of student loans, see:
Vacation Time and Visits
Volunteers receive two vacation days per month of service—a total of 48 days over two years. Many use this time to travel to nearby countries. Some invite family or friends to visit so they can share their experience of the host country. And, of course, Volunteers can use this time for a visit home (at their own expense).
Peace Corps Training
Training begins in the U.S. with a brief pre-departure orientation. Then the Peace Corps provides two to three months of training in the country in which Volunteers are assigned to serve. Volunteers study together and receive intensive instruction in the local language, usually from native speakers. They learn technical skills related to their jobs, how to adopt practices to enhance their safety and well-being, and they become familiar with the country's cultural traditions.
During this period, most Volunteers live with host families to fully immerse themselves in the new culture. At the completion of training, Volunteers possess the language, technical, and cross-cultural skills needed to begin their work and are then sent to their individual sites. Over the next 24 months of service, the Peace Corps provides Volunteers with regular opportunities to reinforce existing skills and gain new skills related to work, language, culture, and safety.
Last updated Jul 15 2014