VOLUNTEER FAQ

Applying to be a Jesuit Volunteer

Who can be a Jesuit Volunteer?

The Jesuit Volunteer Corps invites applications from all young leaders, regardless of culture, economic status, ethnic origin, gender, physical challenge, or sexual orientation. Applicants should be between 21 and 35 years of age, unmarried with no dependents, permanent residents of the United States, and have a college degree or applicable work experience. At this time, JVC is only able to take applications from U.S. citizens for placements outside of the United States. Jesuit Volunteers should be committed to learning more about the values of community, social justice, simple living, and spirituality.  

DACA recipients: JVC welcomes applications from Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients who are residing in the U.S. for our domestic placement options only. Unfortunately, JVC is not able to place volunteers with DACA status in international placements due to visa requirements. 

Do I need to fill out two applications to be considered for both international and U.S.-based placements?

No. JVC will accept one application for both. Should you only apply to the international program and not receive an offer to serve internationally with JVC, you may be eligible to transfer your application to serve within the U.S. for consideration during the second-round placement offers. 

Does JVC need applicants with special skills or credentials?

Several placement sites require additional professional certifications, a driver’s license, or language skills. During our application process, volunteers complete a series of questions to determine their eligibility for those roles. 

Can I apply/arrange to do JVC with a partner, friend, or roommate?

JVC is unable to arrange for two or more people to serve together. Each applicant applies to JVC as an individual and is considered for placement as such. 

What is the length of my commitment to JVC? When does it start?

To serve as a Jesuit Volunteer in the US we require a one-year commitment, which begins in the first weeks of August with orientation and ends the following August.  

To serve as a Jesuit Volunteer outside the US we require a two-year commitment, beginning with orientation in August. We ask that volunteers do not return to the U.S. until their service obligation ends.  International commitments follow one of two cycles:  

- 2-year service commitment in Belize and Micronesia: August 2019 to June 2021 

- 2-year service commitment in Tanzania, Chile, Peru: December 2019 – November 2021

What do most Jesuit Volunteers do after they serve in JVC?

 The vast majority of Jesuit Volunteers enter graduate school or the workforce immediately after their term of service ends. While some accept paid positions at their agency placement or go on to work in the non-profit or social justice fields, many others begin careers in fields including medicine, law, politics, and finance, bringing with them the skills and values they learned as Jesuit Volunteers. 

JVC has partnered with graduate programs across the country that offer full or partial tuition awards for Former Jesuit volunteers.

To learn more about these programs, click here. 

How does JVC help prepare me for what I want to do next?

Your JV position will provide you with concrete skills and hands-on experience that will make you an attractive candidate to graduate schools and many professional fields. Because of JVC’s well-established reputation, Former Jesuit Volunteers are often eligible for special scholarships or acceptance consideration. 

With a network of over 10,000 FJVs across the country, you are never far from finding help when settling into a new community or exploring professional opportunities.

Learn more about staying connected after JVC.

What is the JVC Non-Discrimination policy?

JVC is founded and rooted in the tradition of the Society of Jesus. The program has a distinct Roman Catholic heritage, which all applicants will understand is the spiritual foundation of JVC. Yet, individuals of all faith perspectives are welcome and encouraged to apply. 

It is JVC policy to treat all employees, volunteers and interns with dignity and respect and to provide a work and community environment free from harassment and illegal discrimination based on race, color, national origin, religion, age, disability, sex (including pregnancy), sexual orientation, gender identity, veteran status, marital status, genetic information or any other factor protected by federal, state or local law. 

It is also JVC policy that no individual should be subjected to harassment or discrimination by another volunteer, employee, manager, client or visitor. JVC takes steps to make its employees, volunteers and interns aware of what harassment, both sexual and non-sexual, and discrimination are and what steps to take if harassment or discrimination occurs. 

JVC will take immediate steps to address complaints of discrimination or harassment. Anyone found to be engaging in harassment or unlawful discrimination will be subject to disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal from JVC employment or the JVC program. 

JVC requires that its placement agencies have similar non-discrimination policies. If the agency partner is found to be engaging in discriminatory activities, removal of current member(s) (and denial of future volunteers at that agency) can result. 

Any volunteer with questions or concerns about any type of discrimination should bring these issues to the attention of the JVC staff and/or leadership. 

LIfe as a Jesuit Volunteer

What is it like to be a Jesuit Volunteer?

Jesuit Volunteers serve an average of 40 hours per week in direct service roles such as case managers, outreach workers, community organizers, housing and employment specialists, and campus ministers. 

Jesuit Volunteers live in intentional communities with other volunteers, sharing the responsibilities of cooking, cleaning, and finances. They often become active in their local neighborhoods, learning more about the joys and challenges of their neighbors. 

Jesuit Volunteers participate in our Ignatian formation program throughout their term of service. They attend five retreats each year, alongside weekly discussions and reflections, to deepen their understanding of JVC’s values, facilitate the cross-cultural adjustment process, and examine challenges of privilege and solidarity.

How is JVC different from other service programs?

The diversity of placements, the opportunity to live in an intentional community, and the strong spiritual formation program are hallmarks of JVC. The network of Former Jesuit Volunteers is larger than any other faith-based full-time service program in the U.S.

What will my schedule look like? Will I have vacation time?

Jesuit Volunteers serving domestically: All U.S. based agencies agree to provide Jesuit Volunteers with at least 10 vacation pays, in addition to time off for retreats and federal holidays. Service schedules depend on the job description, although most follow a 40-hour workweek with weekends off. 

Jesuit Volunteers serving internationally arrange their vacation time directly with their agency placement. Because the majority of international placements are within school settings, vacation time will generally follow the school’s vacation schedule. During breaks longer than two weeks, volunteers are expected to serve at a secondary placement, to be established between the JV, placement site, and JVC. 

Will I have health insurance in JVC?

U.S. based volunteers have access to JVC health insurance if they are unable to obtain insurance elsewhere. All international-based volunteers are required to join JVC’s health insurance plan. Details of the plan will be provided before the year of service begins. Anyone with a pre-existing condition or particular medical concerns may contact the JVC office for further information.

Can my family and friends visit me during my JVC experience?

Family and friends play an important role in your experience of JVC because they have helped shape who you are. While we believe it is important to share your experience with your friends and loved ones, we ask that you refrain from inviting them to your city of service until the second half of your term of service. This will allow you and your community-mates to adjust to the JVC experience and focus on community-building, service, and your new surroundings. 

What should I bring to JVC? How should I pack for my term of service?

JV houses are fully furnished homes and will already contain things like books, games, cookware, etc. Please be mindful of the climate in the city you are serving during your term of service. If you are heading somewhere warmer or colder than you are accustomed, prepare accordingly. Once you arrive in your service city, you can have friends or family ship additional items to you if deem this necessary. DO NOT ship additional items before you arrive in your city of service. 

Below is a general list of items to bring with you for your term of service with JVC: 

- T-Shirt from your alma mater, we’ll be taking photos at Orientation! 

- Work clothes (enough for two weeks): It would be helpful to check in with your supervisor over the summer about appropriate work attire so you know what to pack. 

- Casual clothing (enough for two weeks) and footwear suitable for different types of weather, e.g. rain jacket and sweatshirts 

- Toiletries (one month’s supply): Note that the bathrooms at Orientation and future retreats will likely be common/shared bathrooms. 

- In an effort to promote greater equity within the organization, Jesuit Volunteer Corps is thrilled to offer free menstrual products (we currently offer: pads, tampons non-applicator, tampons with applicator) to all its JVs and staff through a partnership with Aunt Flow, thus reducing the need for our menstruating volunteers to spend 20% or more of their monthly stipends on these essential products. Please leave room to pack these items in your Orientation bags. 

- Backpack/small duffle bag for weekend/retreat travel.  

Some Other Items You’ll Likely Need During JVC 

- Travel mug and/or water bottle (to limit your use of paper products) 

- Watch and alarm clock 

- Journal (if you don’t have one, JVC is a great time to start!). 

- Musical instrument, if you play. 

- One nice/formal outfit to wear during Orientation and for various events you will attend throughout the year. 

What if I don’t like my placement site?

Challenges arise in all jobs, and Jesuit Volunteer placements are no exception. We work hard to select partner organizations that need and would benefit from having a JV. We encourage you to make the absolute best of any placement site and the inevitable rough patches. After all, you learn more from your challenges than your easy successes. In the rare case that the agency placement is not meeting its commitments, JVC coordinators will work with the volunteer to address issues and, if necessary, seek an alternative arrangement. 

JV Community Living

What will my house and neighborhood be like?

JV Home: Jesuit Volunteers serving in the same city live together in an intentional community. Housing is simple and is traditionally located in a lower-income neighborhood to provide opportunities for the JVs to live in solidarity with the people they serve.   

Residences have adequate bedrooms and communal living space for the expected number of JVs. Volunteer housing is located in areas where volunteers can readily access the transit system (where applicable) to get to and from their worksite, a shopping district, and other resources.   

All JV housing is ready for occupancy, which includes being furnished and with utilities in service. In locations where a JVC community is already established, volunteers tend to live in the same location year over year.  

Neighborhood: Volunteer neighborhoods vary significantly from rural to urban environments. In urban settings, JVs live in neighborhoods where crime, especially petty crime, can be commonplace. JVC works with volunteers to set expectations around personal safety and will quickly find solutions where threats to safety arise.  

Like neighborhoods and cities in the U.S., crime and violence in the international countries where JVs serve vary from place to place. We work to ensure that JVs take necessary safety precautions and can avoid areas that are especially unstable or unsafe.  

How will my community get around in our city of service?

Jesuit Volunteers typically utilize public transportation to get to and from their placement site. This varies from car, bicycle, or bus depending on the location. In some cities of service, placement sites are within walking distance of the JV community house. Costs associated with travel to your placement site are covered by JVC.

 

Personal vehicles 
JVC discourages volunteers from bringing personal vehicles to their cities of service. Volunteers who bring unrequired personal cars will be wholly responsible for all costs associated with the vehicle, including insurance, registration fees, car payments, gas, maintenance, parking, and repairs. JVC will not reimburse the volunteer or community for expenses associated with this car outside of exceptional circumstances or unless used on JVC’s behalf with advance approval. 

What other regular community obligations will I have?

Each community meets at least two evenings per week, once for a community-focused activity and once for an evening of spiritual reflection. We provide ideas for these two evenings, but JVs are primarily responsible for their content. JVs are also expected to attend JVC retreats. 

Our Jesuit Volunteers serving internationally commit to attend weekly Catholic mass together with the local community, acknowledging that the experience may be quite different from that which they are used to in the U.S. International JVs plan and participate in JVC retreats throughout the year.  

I have always lived with roommates, how is living in community different from that?

JVs live in co-ed communities of between 3 and 7 volunteers. As a Jesuit Volunteer community, you agree on regular times to be together as community, discuss how to make decisions and resolve conflict, agree on community meal times, and divide household responsibilities. All JVs are responsible to each other as members of the same community. Regular community meetings help keep communications channels open and expectations clear. In addition to the community nights, JVs commit to weekly spirituality nights, which is a chance to foster friendships and grow in faith together.

Do Jesuit Volunteers spend time with people outside of their intentional community?

Yes! Many JVs make friends with coworkers, people in their neighborhood, or people they meet through church or other community activities. We encourage an active involvement in your community and city. As long as you are making active choices that allow you to be present to your community, it is helpful to branch out and build new relationships while in JVC.

What do Jesuit Volunteers do for fun?

Because of their limited budgets, JVs get creative with finding things to do with their free time. With the exception of planned community time, many JVs have nights and weekends free and are able to plan activities that allow them to explore their city and larger geographical area. Many JVs join the local Y, participate in a sports league, or get involved with community or church activities. 

Should I bring my cell phone, laptop or other personal electronics with me?

JVC is about balance and choosing to live simply. Many JVs find that when used in moderation, electronic devices can be helpful to them in communication, finding resources, or staying in touch with the issues of injustice in our world. 

It is important to note that these devices can distract you from focusing on personal relationships and building community with other JVs. Portable electronics can also prevent you from living in solidarity with the people who seek to serve. We encourage you to reflect and discern about what you bring and why you wish to bring it.

Financial Obligations

What are the financial arrangements during the term of service?

JVC provides for Jesuit Volunteers’ housing, food, a modest monthly personal stipend, health insurance (if unavailable elsewhere), transportation, menstrual products, and a modest relocation stipend at the end of their term of service. Volunteers are responsible for transportation to orientation.

JVs serving internationally are asked to cover the costs of transportation to and—if not departing immediately for their host countries—from orientation. We cover the cost of airline travel to the country and city of placement. In collaboration with the placement agencies and Jesuit partners, we cover the costs for housing, utilities, a food budget, transportation to and from work (could be a bus, bicycle, or walking distance), and travel expenses to relocate at the end of the year. We cover retreat expenses, including room and board, and provide health insurance coverage to all JVs. 

Is it a requirement to fundraise prior to beginning JVC?

Jesuit Volunteer Corps is a registered 501(c)(3) organization and we rely on donations to maintain our program. New JVs join the wide network of current and former JVs, Jesuits, donors, and friends who generously give of their talents and treasures to sustain JVC’s program and are expected to undertake fundraising prior to orientation. 
 
Acceptance is not conditional on fundraising. No fundraising commitments are expected until after you commit to the program. We provide Jesuit Volunteers with training, ideas, and encouragement to aid their success. 
 
Jesuit Volunteers serving in the USA are asked to set a minimum goal of $600 and reach out to their personal networks including friends, family, parish communities, etc. 
 
Jesuit Volunteers serving internationally are expected to undertake fundraising prior to departing for their host countries. International JVs are asked to set a minimum goal of $3,000 and reach out to their personal networks including friends, family, parish communities, etc.

How do I handle my college loans?

For Jesuit Volunteers serving in the USA, forbearance and deferment are available for most federally guaranteed student loans. Check with your lending institution to confirm eligibility and obtain the appropriate forms, which must be completed by you and JVC staff. If you are having difficulties with your lender, contact your program coordinator. 

For Jesuit Volunteers serving internationally, we provide a letter for international JVs to authenticate that they live under minimum wage. 

 

LOAN DEFERMENT FAQ  

The following information applies to federal Direct, Stafford, and Perkins loans. If you borrowed from a private lender, please consult with them as to their guidelines for deferment and payment options. 

I have accepted a placement with JVC, but what about my student loans?  
Most Jesuit Volunteers defer their loans; however, Jesuit Volunteers with Federal Direct Loans are eligible for a “Pay as You Earn” repayment plan.  

What does deferment mean?  
A deferment means there are no payments required on your loan during an approved period. For federal Perkins loans or subsidized federal Stafford loans, the government may pay the interest on your loan during a deferment period. There is no pre-payment penalty at any time. 

How do I defer my loans?  
Check with your school and/or lender about deferring your loans. Most federal Stafford and Perkins loans can be deferred. Private lender policies may vary and each incoming JV should research their private loans carefully before beginning their JV year.  
 
What kind of deferment should I seek?  
Typically volunteers apply for an Economic Hardship Deferment. As a Jesuit Volunteer, you will be making less than federal minimum wage, which is one criterion for the economic hardship application.  
 
Are there different kinds of deferment?  
You might come across the Public Service Deferment forms. This type of deferment is only for loans disbursed prior to July 1, 1993. You can defer loans if you are in school full-time or if you are unemployed. Neither of these options applies to your time in JVC. If you wish to investigate these options for post-JVC, please contact your lender. 

When should I fill out my paperwork?  
Check with your lender. Generally you will fill it out close to the end of your grace period; however, this differs from lender to lender. Always call your lender for the exact filing requirements.  
 
What supporting documents do I need?  
You will need to provide proof of your monthly income and fill out the Economic Hardship Deferment Request Form at http://www.asa.org/pdfs/federal/economic-hardship-defermentrequest.pdf.  
 
What does JVC do in this process?  
If requested, JVC will write a letter stating your participation in our program, the associated program dates, and the amount of money you earn per month. If possible, please contact JVC at least three weeks prior to needing the documentation. 
 
What is a “Pay as You Earn” repayment plan?  
Pay as You Earn is a repayment plan for eligible Direct Loans that is designed to limit required monthly payments to an amount that is affordable based on income and family size. Under this plan, individuals with little to no income may not be required to make monthly payments.  
 
Who is eligible for “Pay as You Earn?”  
New borrowers with loans made under the Direct Loan Program (Direct Subsidized Loan, Direct Unsubsidized Loans, and some Direct PLUS Loans) whose debt in high relative to income are eligible for this repayment plan. Contact your loan provider to learn more about this repayment plan and check to see if you are eligible. You can also find more information at http://studentaid.ed.gov/repay-loans/understand/plans   

* Some of this information is taken from fafsa.com/deferments.htm and studentaid.gov  
 

FEDERAL LOANS  

Under federal law, Jesuit Volunteers are eligible to defer or forbear their federally guaranteed student loans during their time in JVC. These loans, which are primarily Perkins or Stafford, must be in the volunteer’s name. Loans in the parents’ names, primarily PLUS loans, are not eligible for deferment during the volunteer’s term of service.  

All federal loans procured after July 1993 are eligible for deferment based on economic hardship.  

The volunteer should contact her/his lending institution for a loan deferment form. Loan deferment forms regarding loans procured after 1993 must be signed by the volunteer and their placement agency (not JVC). Some lending institutions may require additional paperwork. Contact your lending institution for details. The deferment period begins at the conclusion of the "grace period" of the repayment schedule (usually six months after graduation) and extends throughout the volunteer's time with JVC. In most cases, loan repayment will begin or resume immediately when the volunteer leaves JVC.  

Most lending institutions will not accept deferment forms until two months prior to the beginning of the payment schedule. Forms received too early will have to be resubmitted at the conclusion of the grace period. Due to legislation changes, some volunteers may only be able to receive forbearance, meaning they do not have to pay during their volunteer commitment, but interest may continue to accrue. 

Co-signed Loans  
Sometimes loans co-signed by parents are not deferrable. The volunteer should check with their lending institution about co-signed loans.  
 
Private Loans  
Sometimes private loans are not deferrable. The volunteer should check with their lending institution about any private loans.