Friday, September 02, 2005

Congressman Ford Urges Federal Assistance for Students Who Join Relief Effort

Congressman Harold Ford today announced that he is developing legislation to provide federal tuition assistance for university students who assist in Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.

"As events in the Gulf Coast region unfold, it is clear that relief and rebuilding efforts will take months - perhaps years - and will require thousands of volunteers. Students across my state of Tennessee and across the nation are eager to join the cause. We should give them the means to do it," Ford said.

Ford's legislation would add a Hurricane Relief Corps to the existing AmeriCorps program, which would consist of 10,000 positions and which would be specifically dedicated to helping the victims of Hurricane Katrina recover and rebuild.

"Our college and university students are a wonderful resource," Ford said. "I am sure state and local governments in the affected regions, the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army, to name just a few, would welcome their addition to the cause. We should do everything we can for those who want to help."

Upon successful completion of their service, AmeriCorps volunteers receive education awards to pay for college, graduate school or to pay back students loans. During their service, AmeriCorps members receive health insurance, training and student loan deferment. Some members also receive a modest annual living allowance of $10,900.

"Adding more AmeriCorps members specifically dedicated to hurricane relief would help students earn money for college, while simultaneously helping devastated communities rebuild," Ford said. "It would benefit everyone."

AmeriCorps provides needed assistance to millions of Americans. Since 1994, more than 400,000 men and women have provided needed assistance to millions of Americans across the nation through their AmeriCorps service.