Worthwhile Scholarships for Students Who Volunteer in Their Communities

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If you volunteer in your community, you could be eligible for significant scholarship money for college. Many foundations and organizations are looking for students with a record of service in their community. Here is a list of some community service scholarships that are available.

13 community service scholarships

1. DoSomething.org easy scholarships
2. AXA Achievement 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
Also: Browse community service scholarships on local, national level

1. DoSomething.org easy scholarships

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.

Late 2019 and early 2020 campaigns were awarded between $500 and $5,000 in scholarship money.

2. AXA Achievement Scholarship

The AXA Foundation awards more than $1.4 million annually in community service scholarships to students throughout the country.

AXA Achievement Scholarship winners must demonstrate outstanding achievement in their communities. 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.

3. Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

The Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes goes to young leaders between ages 8 and 18 who have made an impact in their communities.

Recent winners have:

  • Raised money to protect mountain gorillas
  • Founded nonprofits to fight climate change
  • Taught computer programming skills to children in shelters

Each year, 25 winners receive $10,000 scholarships for community service.

4. Segal AmeriCorps Education Award

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 $6,195 in 2019-20. The award can be used to pay for educational expenses or to repay certain loans — with some restrictions.

5. Prudential Spirit of Community Awards

Since 1995, the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards program has recognized more than 130,000 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-expenses-paid trip to Washington, D.C.
  • 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, China and Brazil.

6. Bonner Leader Program

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 trainings 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.

Of note, there is also the Bonner Scholar Program. Students with financial need are expected to commit 10 hours a week — 140 hours a semester — to community service, along with 280 hours in the summer. Those who participate receive financial aid support.

7. Comcast Leaders and Achievers Scholarship

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.

8. Jesse Brown Memorial Youth Scholarship Program

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. One applicant will receive a top scholarship of $20,000 and an all-expenses-paid trip to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) National Convention.

9. Princeton Prize in Race Relations

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.

10. GE-Reagan Foundation Scholarship Program

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 tuition, fees, books, supplies or room and board.

11. Young Women in Public Affairs Award

The Zonta International Foundation has awarded more than 900 scholarships to more than 750 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 $4,000

Recipients must exhibit a record of leadership achievements.

12. Brower Youth Awards

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 week-long trip in the San Francisco Bay Area.

13. Davis-Putter Scholarship Fund

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.

Browse community service scholarships on local, national level

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 engines 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

Need a student loan?

Here are our top student loan lenders of 2020!
LenderVariable APREligibility 
1.24% – 11.44%1Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit Earnest

1.25% – 11.15%*,2Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SallieMae

1.24% – 11.98%3Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

1.24% – 12.49%4Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

1.80% – 11.89%5Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SoFi

2.71% – 12.99%6Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Ascent

3.52% – 9.50%7Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit CommonBond

* The Sallie Mae partner referenced is not the creditor for these loans and is compensated by Sallie Mae for the referral of Smart Option Student Loan customers.

1 Important Disclosures for Earnest.

Earnest Disclosures

  1. Rates include 0.25% Auto Pay Discount
     
  2. Explanation of Rates “With Autopay” (APD)
    Rates shown include 0.25% APR discount when client agrees to make monthly principal and interest payments by automatic electronic payment. Use of autopay is not required to receive an Earnest loan.

    Available Terms
    For Cosigned loans – 5, 7, 10, 12, 15 years. 
    Primary Only – 10, 12, 15 years

    In school deferred payment is not available in AL, AZ, CA, FL, MA, MD, MI, ND, NY, PA, and WA).


2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.

3 Important Disclosures for College Ave.

CollegeAve Disclosures

College Ave Student Loans products are made available through either Firstrust Bank, member FDIC or M.Y. Safra Bank, FSB, member FDIC. All loans are subject to individual approval and adherence to underwriting guidelines. Program restrictions, other terms, and conditions apply.

  1. Rates shown are for the College Ave Undergraduate Loan product and include autopay discount. The 0.25% auto-pay interest rate reduction applies as long as a valid bank account is designated for required monthly payments. Variable rates may increase after consummation.
  2. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a freshman borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 8.35% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $179.18 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $21,501.54. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary. This informational repayment example uses typical loan terms for a first year graduate student borrower who selects the Deferred Repayment Option with a 10-year repayment term, has a $10,000 loan that is disbursed in one disbursement and a 7.10% fixed Annual Percentage Rate (“APR”): 120 monthly payments of $141.66 while in the repayment period, for a total amount of payments of $16,699.21. Loans will never have a full principal and interest monthly payment of less than $50. Your actual rates and repayment terms may vary.

Information advertised valid as of 9/24/2020. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.


4 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  2. Students who get at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) qualify for a one-time cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan. Reward redemption period is limited. Please visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for any applicable reward terms and conditions.
  3. Lowest APRs shown are available for the most creditworthy applicants and include an interest-only repayment discount and Auto Debit Reward. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including undergraduate and graduate loans. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.375% as of July 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.
  4. Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for the Discover Private Consolidation Loan and include an Auto Debit Reward. The fixed interest rate is set at the time of application and does not change during the life of the loan. The variable interest rate is calculated based on the 3-Month LIBOR index plus the applicable margin percentage. For variable interest rate loans, the 3-Month LIBOR is 0.375% as of July 1, 2020. Discover Student Loans may adjust the rate quarterly on each January 1, April 1, July 1 and October 1 (the “interest rate change date”), based on the 3-Month LIBOR Index, published in the Money Rates section of the Wall Street Journal 15 days prior to the interest rate change date, rounded up to the nearest one-eighth of one percent (0.125% or 0.00125). This may cause the monthly payments to increase, the number of payments to increase or both. Our lowest APR is only available to customers with the best credit and other factors. Your APR will be determined after you apply. It will be based on your credit history, which repayment option you choose and other factors, including your cosigner’s credit history (if applicable). Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates.
Lowest APRs shown for Discover Student Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants for undergraduate loans, and include an interest-only repayment discount and a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments.

5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

sofiDisclosures

UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.76% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.90% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.83% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.80% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.30% to 11.98% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.97% to 11.89% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60% to 11.26% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.90% to 11.16% APR (with autopay). For variable rate loans, the variable interest rate is derived from the one-month LIBOR rate plus a margin and your APR may increase after origination if the LIBOR increases. Changes in the one-month LIBOR rate may cause your monthly payment to increase or decrease. Interest rates for variable rate loans are capped at 13.95%, unless required to be lower to comply with applicable law. Lowest rates are reserved for the most creditworthy borrowers. If approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your creditworthiness, the repayment option you select, the term and amount of the loan and other factors, and will be within the ranges of rates listed above. The SoFi 0.25% autopay interest rate reduction requires you to agree to make monthly principal and interest payments by an automatic monthly deduction from a savings or checking account. The benefit will discontinue and be lost for periods in which you do not pay by automatic deduction from a savings or checking account. Information current as of 07/10/2020. Enrolling in autopay is not required to receive a loan from SoFi. SoFi Lending Corp., licensed by the Department of Business Oversight under the California Financing Law License No. 6054612. NMLS #1121636 (www.nmlsconsumeraccess.org).


6 Important Disclosures for Ascent.

Ascent Disclosures

Before taking out private student loans, you should explore and compare all financial aid alternatives, including grants, scholarships, and federal student loans and consider your future monthly payments and income. Applying with a cosigner may improve your chance of getting approved and could help you qualify for a lower interest rate. Ascent Student Loans may be funded by Richland State Bank (RSB). Ascent Student Loan products are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application, verification of application information and certification of loan amount by a participating school. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions, and certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. Ascent is a federally registered trademark of Turnstile Capital Management (TCM) and may be used by RSB under limited license. Richland State Bank is a federally registered service mark of Richland State Bank.

  1. Competitive variable rates calculated monthly at the time of loan approval based on a margin plus the 1-Month London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) rounded to the nearest 1/100th of a percent. The current LIBOR is 0.176%, which may adjust monthly. Your interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes. Rates are effective as of 09/01/2020 and reflect an Automatic Payment Discount. Automatic Payment Discount is available if the borrower is enrolled in automatic payments from their personal checking account and the amount is successfully withdrawn from the authorized bank account each month. (See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
    1. Undergraduate Loans: Your variable interest rate may increase or decrease, based on LIBOR monthly changes, resulting in an APR range between 2.71% and 12.99%.  Fixed rate loans will not increase or decrease over the life of the loan and have an APR range between 3.53% and 14.50%. Rates reflect an Automatic Payment Discount of 0.25% on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate. The following table shows a 48 month in-school period plus 9 months of grace prior to a full repayment term of either: 60-months (lowest fixed/variable rate), 144-months (highest fixed rate) or 180-months (highest variable rate) with examples of (i) Interest Only payments, (ii) $25 Minimum payments, and (iii) Deferred repayment options. (See Undergraduate Loan repayment examples.)
  2. Payments may be deferred. Subject to lender discretion, forbearance and/or deferment options may be available for borrowers who are encountering financial distress.
  3. Making interest only or partial interest payments while in school will not reduce the principal balance of the loan. There are three (3) flexible in-school repayment options that include fully deferred, interest only and $25 minimum repayment. (See Undergraduate Loan repayment examples.)
  4. Flexible repayment plans may be offered up to a fifteen (15) year repayment term for a variable rate loan and ten (10) year repayment term for a fixed rate loan. Students must be enrolled at least half-time at an eligible school. Minimum loan amount is $2,000.
  5. Interest rate reduction of either 0.25% (for Credit-Based Loans) or 2.00% (for Undergraduate Future Income-Based Loans) applies only when the borrower and/or cosigner sign up for automatic payments and the payment amount is successfully deducted from the designated bank account each month. The amount of the discount is dependent upon the loan product and credit history of the borrower at the time of application. Interest rate reduction(s) will not apply during periods when no payment is due, including periods of in-school, deferment, grace or forbearance, unless a regular payment amount has been arranged with the servicer. If you have two (2) consecutive returned payments for Nonsufficient Funds, we may cancel your automatic debit enrollment and you will lose the interest rate reduction. You will then need to re-qualify and re-enroll in automatic debit payments to receive the interest rate reduction.(See Automatic Payment Discount Terms & Conditions.)
  6. All applicants (individual and cosigner) are required to complete a brief online financial literacy course as part of the application process to be eligible for funding.
  7. Eligibility, loan amount and other loan terms are dependent on several factors, which may include: loan product, other financial aid, creditworthiness, school, program, graduation date, major, cost of attendance and other factors. Aggregate loan limits may apply. The cost of attendance is determined and certified by the educational institution.
  8. The legal age for entering into contracts is eighteen (18) years of age in every state except Alabama where it is nineteen (19) years old, Nebraska where it is nineteen (19) years old (only for wards of the state), and Mississippi and Puerto Rico where it is twenty-one (21) years old.
  9. 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details. In order to be eligible for the 1% Cash Back Graduation Reward, borrower must meet the following criteria after graduation:
    • The student borrower has graduated from the degree program that the loan was used to fund.
    • The student borrower may change majors and/or transfer to a different school, but must obtain the same level of degree (e.g. – undergraduate or graduate)
    • The graduation date is more than 90 days and less than five (5) years after the date of the loan’s first disbursement.
    • Any loan that the student has borrowed under the Ascent loan is not more than 30-days delinquent or in a default status as of the graduation date and until any Graduation Reward is paid.
  10. Students can apply to release their cosigner and continue with the loan in only their name after making the first 24 consecutive regularly scheduled full principal and interest payments on-time and meeting the other eligibility criteria to qualify for the loan without a cosigner.

* Application times vary depending on the applicant’s ability to supply the necessary information for submission.


7 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.

CommonBond Disclosures

Offered terms are subject to change and state law restriction. Loans are offered by CommonBond Lending, LLC (NMLS # 1175900), NMLS Consumer Access. If you are approved for a loan, the interest rate offered will depend on your credit profile, your application, the loan term selected and will be within the ranges of rates shown. All Annual Percentage Rates (APRs) displayed assume borrowers enroll in auto pay and account for the 0.25% reduction in interest rate. All variable rates are based on a 1-month LIBOR assumption of 0.17% effective Sep 1, 2020 and may increase after consummation.


Our team at Student Loan Hero works hard to find and recommend products and services that we believe are of high quality. We sometimes earn a sales commission or advertising fee when recommending various products and services to you. Similar to when you are being sold any product or service, be sure to read the fine print to help you understand what you are buying. Be sure to consult with a licensed professional if you have any concerns. Student Loan Hero is not a lender or investment advisor. We are not involved in the loan approval or investment process, nor do we make credit or investment related decisions. The rates and terms listed on our website are estimates and are subject to change at any time.

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