Scholarship Service Limits
Update for 2020-21: We know that agencies and their clients very much need help – even more so at this difficult time. Seek out service opportunities that also account for restrictions for your own health and safety.
The Center for Community Engagement continues to identify service options that can be done remotely (such as online tutoring) or with limited contact (assisting with fundraising mailings or bag lunch preparations) so that scholars can always be of assistance.
An added benefit of online service options is that you can provide help in Cincinnati without physically being here. Students can also seek out opportunities that benefit your local community.
Cincinnatus, the namesake to our city, our university, and our scholarship, is regarded as the ultimate model of selfless heroic deeds. As such, scholars are asked to follow his lead and give back to the community.
When providing service, scholars should be aware of a few limitations that are in place.
You are fortunate in many ways. You are able to go to college, and you are receiving financial support toward your educational costs. Of course, there are many persons who are not as fortunate.
John F. Kennedy said that "to those whom much is given, much is expected." Collectively, the opportunities provided by your scholarship and your education give you advantages that may not be available to others. While a college education may be common within your peer group, it is still a privilege in the world overall.
Central to UC's core values, service by students aids in their overall education, provides a way to give back to the community, and transforms lives. Students act in the spirit of Cincinnatus giving their time and talents to aid the greater community. Their efforts continue an on-going commitment in service to others that reaches past our campus boundaries to affect our neighborhoods, our city, our region, and beyond.
Service v. Volunteering
We all complete a variety of volunteer activities that may aid in our development, the assistance of others, or the transformation of our community. But in authorizing activities for scholarship renewal, it is necessary to draw a distinction between volunteering and providing service.
The definition of service for scholarship renewal may be different from what you had in high school for listing as service activities.
- Assisting peers, your high school, or neighbors (as they often have access to the same opportunities and resources as you)
- Playing a role in worship services or related activities (as this is a normal course of action in being a member of and supporting your worship community)
- Giving time on a political campaign (as this valuable civic engagement is likely in support of a candidate or issue that can ultimately benefit you or advance your goals)
- Raising funds for a UC student group or an organization of which you are a member (as this can benefit you – even indirectly – as a member of that group or fellow student)
Even these activities can be explored in different ways to meet a service definition. If being a peer tutor or assisting students from another country is an interest, consider tutoring struggling elementary students in programs such as America Reads or give your time toward refugee assistance where these persons don't have the resources of a college to assist them. Are there programs at your house of worship or another that assist persons of lesser means not within their membership? Instead of raising funds for a UC student group, find a non-UC agency that might have similar goals and in need of fund raising assistance.
Key to approval of a service opportunity is that it meets the definition of the National Community Service Act of 1990. Specifically, you want to ensure that you are providing "those services designed to improve the quality of life for community residents (general public), particularly low income individuals, or solving problems related to their needs."
On-Campus Service Limits
Tagging an opportunity as on-campus or off is based on who benefits from the service. For instance, participating in Relay for Life on campus is considered off-campus, because the American Cancer Society is the beneficiary of money raised. At the same time, event assistance at UC is likely benefiting UC even if the event may be supporting a wider concern.
On-campus service is limited to 10 hours each academic year. As well, on-campus service must involve a program, project or service open to the general public. These restrictions combine to help you avoid a taxation issue with your scholarship.
Ultimately, the University of Cincinnati has offered you a scholarship. Completing service where a similar activity is completed by UC employees creates a problem over the issue of payroll taxes collected for employees but not scholars. Therefore, no on-campus service will be approved if a UC employee completes similar activities. To avoid this issue, we encourage students to complete their service hours off-campus. Community service resources can assist in identifying off-campus opportunities.
Prior to completing on-campus service or service that may fall into the volunteering category, students should contact the Cincinnatus Program (firstname.lastname@example.org) to understand if the service is acceptable for renewal submission.
Students are also often able to submit the same hours for multiple scholarship programs. For instance, if you have a 30-hour requirement for Cincinnatus and a similar number of hours required by Darwin T. Turner or a student organization's philanthropy projects, you are generally able to submit the same hours to all programs. Each program, however, may have unique standards for authorizing acceptance of the service.
However, if your service is being submitted for class credit or grade, you should not submit those hours for scholarship renewal.