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.
Need a student loan?Here are our top student loan lenders of 2021!
|0.99% – 11.98%1||Undergraduate|
|1.13% – 11.23%*,2||Undergraduate|
|0.99% – 11.44%3||Undergraduate|
|1.50% – 11.33%4||Undergraduate|
|1.12% – 11.23%5||Undergraduate|
|1.15% – 11.01%6||Undergraduate|
|3.80% – 9.36%8||Undergraduate|
|* 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 College Ave.
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.
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.
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 8/9/2021. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Approved interest rate will depend on the creditworthiness of the applicant(s), lowest advertised rates only available to the most creditworthy applicants and require selection of full principal and interest payments with the shortest available loan term.
2 Sallie Mae Disclaimer: Click here for important information. Terms, conditions and limitations apply.
3 Rate range above includes optional 0.25% Auto Pay discount. Important Disclosures for Earnest.
4 Important Disclosures for Ascent.
Ascent loans are funded by Bank of Lake Mills, Member FDIC. Loan products may not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions may apply. For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: AscentFunding.com/Ts&Cs.
Rates are effective as of 10/01/2021 and reflect an automatic payment discount of either 0.25% (for credit-based loans) OR 1.00% (for undergraduate outcomes income-based loans). 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. For Ascent rates and repayment examples please visit: AscentFunding.com/Rates.
1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions, please visit AscentFunding.com/Cashback. Cosigned Credit-Based Loan student borrowers must meet certain minimum credit criteria. The minimum score required is subject to change and may depend on the credit score of your cosigner. Lowest APRs are available for the most creditworthy applicants and may require a cosigner.
5 Important Disclosures for SoFi.
UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 10.66% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.12% to 11.23% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 10.90% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.10% to 11.34% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.08% to 10.86% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.05% to 11.29% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 10.66% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.20% to 11.23% 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 4/1/2021. 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 Citizens Bank.
Citizens Bank Disclosures
Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.15% – 11.01% (1.15% – 10.24 APR)Fixed interest rates range from 4.18% – 11.70% (4.18% – 10.83% APR).
Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 10.66% (1.89% – 10.41% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.64% – 11.23%% (4.64% – 10.95% APR).
Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 9.22% (1.89% – 8.50% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.38% – 10.44% (4.38% – 9.72% APR).
Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.89% – 8.02% (1.89% – 7.72% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.28% – 9.24% (4.28% – 8.94% APR).
Parent Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.97% – 7.06% (1.97% – 7.06% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.94% – 8.58% (4.94% – 8.58% APR).
Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 4.44% – 9.58% (4.44% – 9.52% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.40% – 12.83% APR).
Medical Residency Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.53% – 7.03% (3.53% – 6.76% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.99% – 10.49% (6.98% – 10.09% APR).
Variable Rate Disclosure: Variable Rates are based on the one-month London Interbank Offered Rate (“LIBOR”) published in The Wall Street Journal on the twenty-fifth day, or the next business day, of the preceding calendar month. As of June 1, 2021, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.09%. Variable interest rates will fluctuate over the term of the loan with changes in the LIBOR rate, and will vary based on applicable terms, level of degree and presence of a co-signer. The maximum variable rate is the greater of 21.00% or Prime Rate plus 9.00%.
Fixed Rate Disclosure: Fixed rate ranges are based on applicable terms, level of degree, and presence of a co-signer.
Lowest Rate Disclosure: Lowest rates require a 5-year repayment term, immediate repayment, a graduate degree (where applicable), and include our Loyalty and Automatic Payment discounts of 0.25 percentage points each, as outlined in the Loyalty Discount and Automatic Payment Discount disclosures. Rates are subject to additional terms and conditions, and are subject to change at any time without notice. Such changes will only apply to applications taken after the effective date of change.
Federal Loan vs. Private Loan Benefits: Some federal student loans include unique benefits that the borrower may not receive with a private student loan, some of which we do not offer. Borrowers should carefully review federal benefits, especially if they work in public service, are in the military, are considering possible loan forgiveness options, are currently on or considering income based repayment options or are concerned about a steady source of future income and would want to lower their payments at some time in the future. When the borrower refinances, they waive any current and potential future benefits of their federal loans. For more information about federal student loan benefits and federal loan consolidation, visit http://studentaid.ed.gov/. We also have several resources available to help the borrower make a decision on our website including Should I Refinance My Student Loans? and our FAQs. Should I Refinance My Student Loans? includes a comparison of federal and private student loan benefits that we encourage the borrower to review.
Eligibility Criteria: Applicants must be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or eligible non-citizen with a creditworthy U.S. citizen or permanent resident co-signer. For applicants who have not attained the age of majority in their state of residence, a co-signer is required. Citizens Bank reserves the right to modify eligibility criteria at any time. Citizens Bank private student loans are subject to credit qualification, completion of a loan application/Promissory Note, verification of application information, and if applicable, self-certification form, school certification of the loan amount, and student’s enrollment at a Citizens Bank participating school.
Loyalty Discount Disclosure: The borrower will be eligible for a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their loan if the borrower or their co-signer (if applicable) has a qualifying account in existence with us at the time the borrower and their co-signer (if applicable) have submitted a completed application authorizing us to review their credit request for the loan. The following are qualifying accounts: any checking account, savings account, money market account, certificate of deposit, automobile loan, home equity loan, home equity line of credit, mortgage, credit card account, or other student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. Please note, our checking and savings account options are only available in the following states: CT, DE, MA, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, and VT and some products may have an associated cost. This discount will be reflected in the interest rate disclosed in the Loan Approval Disclosure that will be provided to the borrower once the loan is approved. Limit of one Loyalty Discount per loan and discount will not be applied to prior loans. The Loyalty Discount will remain in effect for the life of the loan.
Automatic Payment Discount Disclosure: Borrowers will be eligible to receive a 0.25 percentage point interest rate reduction on their student loans owned by Citizens Bank, N.A. during such time as payments are required to be made and our loan servicer is authorized to automatically deduct payments each month from any bank account the borrower designates. Discount is not available when payments are not due, such as during forbearance. If our loan servicer is unable to successfully withdraw the automatic deductions from the designated account three or more times within any 12-month period, the borrower will no longer be eligible for this discount.
7 Important Disclosures for Funding U.
Funding U Disclosures
Offered terms are subject to change. Loans are made by Funding University which is a for-profit enterprise. Funding University is not affiliated with the school you are attending or any other learning institution. None of the information contained in Funding University’s website constitutes a recommendation, solicitation or offer by Funding University or its affiliates to buy or sell any securities or other financial instruments or other assets or provide any investment advice or service.
8 Important Disclosures for CommonBond.
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. If you choose to complete an application, we will conduct a hard credit pull, which may affect your credit score. 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 0.15% effective Jan 1, 2021 and may increase after consummation.