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The SPEA VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) Fellows program is hosted by the School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University-Bloomington (IUB) and is affiliated with the school's top-ranked professional master's degrees in Public Affairs (MPA), Environmental Science (MSES), and SPEA's distinctive dual degree, the MPA-MSES.

The IUB SPEA VISTA Fellows program is offered through a unique partnership with the Corporation for National and Community Service. It is the first and only partnership between VISTA and a graduate program. This program is designed to provide SPEA's professional master's students a transformative year of service in nonprofit organizations and government agencies dedicated to fighting poverty and poverty-related problems.

Each SPEA VISTA Fellow serves a one-year, full-time term as an AmeriCorps VISTA member working on capacity-building projects that build infrastructure and increase an organization's efforts to bring individuals and communities out of poverty.

Program Structure

SPEA VISTA Fellows commit to serving a one-year, full-time term of service at a partner organization. Each VISTA Fellow will execute the capacity-building activities and duties outlined in a VISTA Assignment Description for the specific position; they do not conduct direct service.

SPEA VISTA Fellows are selected through an application and interview process. VISTA Fellows receive all benefits associated with the AmeriCorps VISTA program. In addition, Fellows receive valuable professional experience, earn a 3 credit hour waiver, fulfill their respective degree program (MPA, MSES, MPA-MSES) experiential requirement, and are eligible for up to 3 credit hours of fee remission during year of service.

Benefits include:

  • The choice between $5,550 education award (may be used for educational expenses and/or federal student loans) OR $1,500 cash stipend upon completion of a full year of service;
  • Modest living allowance, paid biweekly (rate varies by city of placement site);
  • Valuable professional experience while building your resume and serving a nonprofit organization or government agency;
  • Eligible for up to 3 credit hours of fee remission during year of service (eligible only for SPEA IUB- SPEA Connect courses are eligible);
  • Credits for your master's program:
    • Earn a 3 credit hour waiver for volunteer experience;
    • Fulfill your experiential requirement;
    • Complete additional coursework during your term of service, if desired;
  • Federal student loans forbearance, or postponement, during year of national service (interest will be paid upon completion of service); private loans may be eligible for deferment, at the discretion of the lender;
  • Relocation allowance (as well as travel and baggage reimbursement) if you relocate for your year of service;
  • Possible housing assistance;
  • Health coverage, including prescription drug coverage, during year of service; and
  • Civil service benefit, meaning you will have non-competitive eligibility for federal civil service jobs, for one year following completion of service.
Student Eligibility

Current and graduating SPEA master's students and alumni are eligible to apply for the SPEA VISTA Fellows program.

In accordance with AmeriCorps VISTA program regulations, all applicants must be a U.S. citizen, national, or legal permanent resident alien of the U.S., and must be legally eligible to work in the U.S.

VISTA Fellows Application Process for 2015-2016

2015-16 SPEA VISTA Fellows will begin their one-year term of service in August 2015. Fellows are selected through an application, interview, and matching process. See list of past placement sites.

To apply, please submit the following materials by February 1, 2015:

Contact Information

For more information, please contact:

Megan Siehl
SPEA VISTA Fellows Program Coordinator
School of Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA)
1315 East Tenth Street, Suite 260
Bloomington, IN 47405

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