This page provides information about scholarships and financial aid for volunteering and community service. These scholarships reward you for helping others. It’s a nice way of doing well by doing good.
In addition to the resources listed below, students who are involved in volunteering and community service should ask whether there are any awards available at the location where they perform their community service. It is quite common for hospitals and nursing homes, veterans groups, churches, mosques and synagogues, historical societies, fraternal organizations and other community service organizations to provide scholarships to recognize outstanding community service by young volunteers.
The Federal Work Study program includes a community service component. Schools are required to use 7% of their Federal Work Study program funds to pay for students employed in community service jobs. In addition, schools can request supplemental funding for community service jobs. If you are eligible for a Federal Work Study job, the school will be delighted if you are interested in a community service job, especially if it involves working as a reading tutor for children or performing family literacy activities.
This list of awards is intended to be illustrative. For a more complete list, search the Fastweb scholarship database.
See also the list of prestigious scholarships, several of which select winners in part on the basis of community service.
Senator Chris Dodd has introduced legislation, the Youth Service Scholarship Act of 2005 (S1247), which would create a new scholarship program to encourage and reward low-income students who make significant public service contributions to their communities. The program would award 1,000 scholarships worth $5,000 each. To be eligible, candidates would have to perform 300 hours of community service per year for at least two years in high school and during the previous year. The legislation has not yet been passed.
The Public Service Loan Forgiveness program provides for forgiveness of federal education loans after ten years of full-time employment in public service. The borrower must make 120 payments while the loans are in the direct loan program and while employed in public service. At the end of the ten-year period, any remaining outstanding principal and interest is forgiven. The benefit is maximized when the borrower repays the loans under the income-contingent or income-based repayment plans. This forgiveness program is best for borrowers with high debt and low income.
For more information on community service scholarships and how to apply, visit Fastweb’s Community Service Scholarships page.