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