Volunteering in your community has a number of benefits, but one you might not know about is that your service could score you scholarship money for college. If you have a record of good deeds, you could win community service scholarships.
13 community service scholarships
Here are some examples of scholarships for volunteering that could help you pay for school:
1. DoSomething.org easy scholarships
2. Equitable Excellence Scholarship
3. Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes
4. Segal AmeriCorps Education Award
5. Prudential Spirit of Community Awards
6. Bonner Leader Program
7. Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship
8. Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program
9. Princeton Prize in Race Relations
10. GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program
11. Young Women in Public Affairs Award
12. Brower Youth Awards
13. Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund
● Plus: Browse community service scholarships on local, national level
If you’re 25 or younger, you can earn a significant scholarship from DoSomething.org by completing one of its campaigns. You could make a card for a service member or draw a superhero to inspire students, among other things.
After you complete an easy scholarship campaign (you can enter multiple), you’ll need to upload a picture. DoSomething.org will choose a winner — or winners — for each campaign through a random drawing. Typically, the winner will be announced three to four weeks after the campaign closes.
2020 campaigns were awarded between $500 and $5,000 in scholarship money.
The Equitable Foundation has awarded over $30 million in community service scholarships to students throughout the country.
Its Equitable Excellence Scholarship is available to students who “demonstrate courage, strength and wisdom as shown by community impact through volunteer service.”
Students, who must be high school seniors, can earn scholarships worth $2,500, $10,000 or $25,000. The winners’ schools also earn a $1,000 grant.
The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes goes to young leaders between ages 8 and 18 who have made an impact on people, their communities and the environment.
Recent winners have:
- Provided food, backpacks, warm coats and other supplies to underserved communities
- Started an environmental nonprofit that brings native fish aquariums into classrooms
- Raised money to fund research into rare pediatric diseases
Each year, 25 winners receive $10,000 scholarships for community service.
If you complete an approved term of service in certain AmeriCorps programs, you could be eligible for the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award.
The AmeriCorps programs that make you eligible include:
- AmeriCorps NCCC
- AmeriCorps State and National
- AmeriCorps VISTA (cash option also available)
Award winners can earn up to the maximum amount of a Pell Grant, which is $6,345 in 2020-2021. The award can be used to pay for educational expenses or to repay certain loans — with some restrictions.
Since 1995, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program has recognized more than 140,000 students for their community service.
Here is the breakdown of awards based on the type of scholarship honoree:
- State honoree: $1,000 scholarship and an all-expense-paid trip to Washington, D.C. (or a virtual event, depending on circumstances)
- National honoree: $5,000 scholarship and a $5,000 grant to donate to a nonprofit charity of their choice
Applicants must be in grades five through 12. The award also honors youth volunteers in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Ireland, India, mainland China and Brazil.
The Bonner Leader Program is an immersive four-year program that provides scholarships and work-study to students. Beyond scholarship money, you’ll gain access to training on leadership and social justice.
For more specifics, apply directly through one of the program’s campus partners. For example, Averett University in Danville, Va., offers a $1,200 annual stipend.
Since 2001, Comcast has awarded more than $33 million in community service scholarships to about 30,000 students.
Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship winners — who must be in high school — earn a one-time $2,500 scholarship, though there is the possibility for additional awards.
The Comcast award considers applicants for their academic performance, community service and leadership skills.
The Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program honors students 21 or younger who have volunteered for at least 100 hours at a Veterans Affairs medical facility.
Volunteer scholarships are awarded in the following amounts: $5,000, $7,500, $10,000 and $15,000 and $20,000.
The Princeton Prize in Race Relations recognizes students who have made positive impacts on race relations in their schools or communities. Applicants must be enrolled in high school and will need to be sponsored for the award, whether that is through a teacher, advisor or community leader, among others.
Recipients receive a $1,000 scholarship and paid travel to attend the university’s annual Symposium on Race.
The GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program provides students with scholarships for volunteering and community service.
It looks for high school seniors — students on U.S. Armed Forces bases or those being home-schooled are also eligible — who demonstrate “exemplary leadership, drive, integrity, and citizenship.”
Winners receive $10,000 a year (up to $40,000 total), which they can put toward their cost of attendance, specifically tuition, fees, books, supplies or room and board.
The Zonta International Foundation has awarded 971 scholarships to 819 women since 1990.
Women ages 16 to 19 in eligible Zonta districts and regions (or who are citizens of a Zonta country) are eligible for the Young Women in Public Affairs Award. Here is a further breakdown of the awards:
- District recipients receive $1,500
- 10 international recipients (selected from among the district recipients) receive an additional $5,000
Recipients must exhibit a record of leadership achievements.
If you’re committed to protecting the environment, you could win a Brower Youth Award.
These scholarships go to those between ages 13 and 22. Six winners each receive a $3,000 prize, along with a professionally produced short film about their work and a weeklong trip in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund awards students who are actively working toward social justice.
Winners are chosen for their social activism and demonstrated financial need. Scholarships vary in amount, but the maximum award is $15,000.
This list of scholarships for community service is a good start, but you can find even more grants on both the local and national level. Browse scholarship search tools for additional opportunities, and ask your school counselor or Rotary Club about local options.
Not only could your commitment to community service help make the world a better place, but it could help you pay for college.
Sarah Sharkey contributed to this report.
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