Worthwhile Scholarships for Students Who Volunteer in Their Communities

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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

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.

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

2. Equitable Excellence Scholarship

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.

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 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.

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 $6,345 in 2020-2021. 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 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.

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 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.

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 and $20,000.

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 their cost of attendance, specifically tuition, fees, books, supplies or room and board.

11. Young Women in Public Affairs Award

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.

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 weeklong 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 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!
LenderVariable APREligibility 
1.04% – 11.98%1Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit College Ave

1.13% – 11.23%*,2Undergraduate, Graduate, and Parents

Visit SallieMae

1.24% – 11.99%3Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Discover

1.78% – 11.89%4Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit SoFi

1.05% – 11.44%5Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Earnest

2.76% – 7.14%6Undergraduate and Graduate

VISIT CITIZENS

2.46% – 12.98%7Undergraduate and Graduate

Visit Ascent

* 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.

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.

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 4/22/2021. Variable interest rates may increase after consummation. Lowest advertised rates 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 Important Disclosures for Discover.

Discover Disclosures

  1. Aggregate loan limits apply.
  2. Get a cash reward on each new Discover undergraduate and graduate student loan when you earn at least a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) in any academic period covered by the loan. Limitations Apply. Visit DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Reward for terms and conditions.
  3. 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. The interest rate ranges represent the lowest and highest interest rates offered on Discover student loans, including undergraduate, graduate, health professions, law and MBA 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 0.250% as of April 1, 2021. 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. Your APR will be determined after you apply. Learn more about Discover Student Loans interest rates at DiscoverStudentLoans.com/Rates.
  4. Lowest APRs shown for Discover Private Consolidation Loans are available for the most creditworthy applicants who are approved and choose a shorter repayment term, and include a 0.25% interest rate reduction while enrolled in automatic payments. 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 0.250% as of April 1, 2021. 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. Your APR will be determined after you apply. Visit Discover.com/student-loans/consolidation.html for more information, including up-to-date interest rates and APRs.
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.

4 Important Disclosures for SoFi.

sofiDisclosures

UNDERGRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.23% to 11.26% annual percentage rate (“APR”) (with autopay), variable rates from 1.88% to 11.66% APR (with autopay). GRADUATE LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.13% to 11.37% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.78% to 11.73% APR (with autopay). MBA AND LAW SCHOOL LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.30% to 11.52% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.95% to 11.89% APR (with autopay). PARENT LOANS: Fixed rates from 4.60% to 10.76% APR (with autopay), variable rates from 1.88% 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 11/04/2020. 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).


5 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).


6 Important Disclosures for Citizens Bank.

Citizens Bank Disclosures

Undergraduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.76% – 7.14% (2.76% – 7.14% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 3.01% – 7.50% (3.01% – 7.50% APR).

Graduate Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.19% – 6.73% (2.19% – 6.73% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 2.89% – 7.09% (2.89%-7.09% APR).

Business/Law Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.36% – 9.54% (1.36% – 8.82% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.13% – 9.84% (4.13% – 9.12% APR).

Medical/Dental Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 1.36% – 8.34% (1.36% – 8.04% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.03% – 8.64% (4.03% – 8.34% APR).

Parent Loan Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 2.10% – 7.41% (2.10%-7.41% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 4.69% – 7.83% (4.69% – 7.83% APR).

Bar Study Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 4.45% – 9.60% (4.45% – 9.53% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 7.39% – 12.94% (7.38% – 12.81% APR).

Medical Residency Rate Disclosure: Variable interest rates range from 3.55% – 7.05% (3.55% – 6.77% APR). Fixed interest rates range from 6.99% – 10.49% (6.97% – 10.07% 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 March 1, 2021, the one-month LIBOR rate is 0.11%. 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 Ascent.

Ascent Disclosures

Ascent Student Loans are funded by Richland State Bank (RSB), Member FDIC. Loan products December not be available in certain jurisdictions. Certain restrictions, limitations; and terms and conditions December apply.  For Ascent Terms and Conditions please visit: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Ts&Cs

Rates are effective as of 12/01/2020 and reflect an automatic payment discount of 0.25% on the lowest offered rate and a 2.00% discount on the highest offered rate.  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: www.AscentStudentLoans.com/Rates

1% Cash Back Graduation Reward subject to terms and conditions. Click here for details.

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