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How to Get Awards and Grants for Volunteer Experience

This article was written based on the information and opinions presented by Neely Allen in a CollegeVine Livestream. You can watch the full Livestream for more info.


What’s Covered:



National Awards for Volunteering


You know volunteer experience is great for your extracurricular profile — and can boost your overall application — but did you know that you can also use service work for awards and grants? That’s just another additional benefit of volunteering. 


Take the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA), for example. This national award was established during the George W. Bush Administration to recognize civil participation and to honor those who’ve made an impact on the community. Now, it is becoming more and more well known across the US, and students love using it as a way to showcase their experience.


How the PVSA Works


Essentially, how the PVSA works is that you start giving your time and talent to the community by volunteering for certain qualifying projects. You’ll go through a certifying organization and have your hours verified and approved, which will make you eligible to earn an award. 


There is some confusion about what actually qualifies you to earn the award. In a nutshell, you must perform unpaid acts of volunteer service. Here are some of examples of what doesn’t count:


• Paid work

• Donating funds

• Political lobbying

• Conducting worship service


But there is a multitude of true volunteer work — service projects — that does count.


You do have to be a U.S. citizen and be at least five years old. Then, it’s fairly easy to start accumulating hours of service over time, enabling you to ultimately secure an award and funding toward your college education.


State Initiatives


Some states are rewarding volunteering, too. California, for example, recently instituted the Californians for All initiative. Students can volunteer in certain areas and earn grant money toward their college education.


This major move is just limited to California right now, but this type initiative will probably become very popular across the country. 


Ultimately, getting involved in volunteer projects that interest you can pay off in more ways than one — literally!