Learn and Serve America makes grants to schools, colleges, and nonprofit groups to support efforts to engage students in community service linked to academic achievement and the development of civic skills. This approach to education, called service-learning, improves communities while preparing young people for a lifetime of responsible citizenship. In addition to making grants, Learn and Serve America serves as a resource on service and service-learning to teachers, faculty members, schools, and community groups.
Schools may apply for service-learning funds through their state education agency. Grants also are made on a competitive basis to Indian tribes, U.S. territories, and nonprofit organizations. Schools use grants to work in partnership with local organizations to implement service-learning activities for students ages 5 to 17. Schools may also use funds for teacher training, program evaluation, or to support service-learning coordinators.
Funds are awarded on a competitive basis to state service commissions and nonprofit organizations to plan, implement, expand, and replicate service-learning programs in local communities. Participants in these programs may include youth ages 5 to 17 who are not in school.
Higher Education Programs
Through a competitive grants process, the Corporation awards funds directly to individual colleges and universities or to higher education consortia to create and strengthen programs and courses that integrate community service with academic study. Grants support partnerships between higher education institutions and community organizations. Higher education institutions may also conduct research and evaluation, provide technical assistance, and supplement Federal Work-Study programs that focus on community service.
All Learn and Serve America grants are for a period of three years, renewable annually contingent upon performance and the availability of funds. Each School-based and Community-based project must provide 10 percent to 50 percent of the total program cost in matching funds; Higher Education grants must be matched dollar for dollar. School and Community-based programs account for nearly two thirds of Learn and Serve America’s grantees, while the Higher Education programs account for the remaining third.
Learn and Serve America provides a variety of resources to schools and community organizations to help them plan, implement, and improve service-learning programs. The National Service-Learning Clearinghouse offers a repository of tools, information, curricula, and research on service and service-learning.
For additional information about Learn and Serve America, visit http://www.learnandserve.gov.