Financial Aid, Tuition

7 Programs that Give Scholarships for Volunteer Service

Did you know that you can raise money for your education by volunteering for great causes? While volunteering is a fantastic way to help your community, make friends, network, or make your college applications stand out, some volunteer jobs “pay you back” with scholarships after you complete your assignment or make you eligible to win scholarships from a pool of funding as a reward for your service. Check out these 7 opportunities!

vocational training - youth on truck

AmeriCorps and VISTA

These government programs, now tied together in one database, often offer scholarship stipends for volunteers. From working with the homeless to disaster relief, up to 75,000 jobs are available each year throughout the country. After service, alumni are eligible for the Segal Americorps Education Award, around $6,000 for full time volunteers — a significant amount for tuition reimbursement. Many universities across the country will match the award with an additional scholarship, too. Here are some of the program details:

  • The VISTA program (Volunteers in Service to America) is a yearlong commitment to help the poorest Americans.
  • The National Civilian Community Corps (NCCC) volunteers commit to be trained at a US campus and serve as needed based on current projects.
  • The National and State program engages nonprofits and education institutions across the country to provide opportunities for service. At universities, these jobs often provide direct stipends to help with education costs and living expenses. See the AmeriCorps website to search current jobs!

Peace Corps

Peace Corps volunteers, similar to AmeriCorps (both programs were started by John F. Kennedy), commit to two years of international service and are then eligible for Pell Grants and other awards toward their continued education. The Paul D. Coverdell Fellows Program offers returned volunteers fellowships to use their new skills in graduate programs.  Depending on the partner school, volunteers can receive full tuition, stipends, and sometimes additional scholarships!

An independent, nonprofit action network to help youth link together and serve others and their communities, has more than 3 million members and offers scholarship awards for volunteers. Visit their “Do good. Pay for school” webpage for details. They offer four $10,000 scholarships annually as well as awards for particular projects, like collecting jeans for the homeless, and a “bake sale for babies” for infant health care in Syria.

Bonner Scholars Program

The Bonner Foundation gives 1,500 students at select colleges across the country scholarships for weekly service commitments of 10 hours in their communities. Students also volunteer over the summer for four years. You can apply directly via FAFSA at participating schools.

National Caring Awards

Every year, the Caring Institute, founded by Senators Bob Dole and Tom Daschle in 1985, announces 10 adult winners and 6 youth recipients of Caring Awards. Youth receive $2,000 scholarships. Find out how to nominate someone or be nominated here!

Comcast Leaders and Achievers Program

Locally, Comcast has given $21 million in scholarships to students across the country. Principals and guidance counselors nominate students that have demonstrated exceptional leadership via service projects in their communities or schools. Most scholarships are $1,000, but a select group of outstanding youth receive $10,000 awards.

Kohls Cares Scholarship Program

Nonprofits, community organizations, and others can nominate their best youth volunteers to receive gift cards and $1,000 scholarships for service from Kohls. The competitive program is offered annually with a March deadline.

Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes

Every year, the Barron Prize gives 25 scholarships to “young heroes” who have made an impact to help others or their community. Author T.A. Barron (The Hero’s Trail) started the prize in 2000.

If you are already serving your community or are thinking about volunteering, you might look into these opportunities to help you fund your education at the same time!

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The Author

Devon Reeser

Devon Reeser

Devon Reeser has helped dozens of nonprofits, schools, Universities and private agencies alike develop programs to boost education outcomes all over the world. Currently she is helping develop a school in rural Haiti, where the majority of children attain less than one year or less of primary education (see Along with fundraising, she taught English as a Second Language for 4 years and Business Development for 2 years in Paraguay, where she lives with her family.

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