Volunteering can help loans, communities

If you didn’t already know, some student loans can be forgiven through volunteer work. There are a couple different forms of volunteer work, like AmeriCorps, one can do to receive loan forgiveness, according to finaid.org. If you serve for 12 months, you can receive up to $7,400 and, on top of this, $4,725 toward loans. This is an advantage because, besides receiving money toward your loan, you get money to spend. I wouldn’t volunteer here because its disadvantage is that it is not timely. Twelve months seems too time consuming to me.

Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA) has a program that offers money in exchange for money. If one volunteers with private, non-profit groups that help eradicate hunger, homelessness, poverty and illiteracy, one can receive $4,725 toward loans if you provide 1,700 hours of work. This is another type of volunteer work that is too time specific. This is not something I would want to spend multiple hours or months on if it only pays minimal amounts toward my loans.

Students who are part of the Army National Guard can be eligible for the Student Loan Repayment Program, which can offer up to $10,000. This is the most rewarding, in terms of loan forgiveness, but I wouldn’t want to be a part of the Army National Guard, so this isn’t an option for me. This offer is only appropriate for those who have an interest in joining the Army National Guard.

I believe the options finaid.org offers are valuable opportunities; however, the majority of us will graduate with more than $4,000 of loans. On average, most of this volunteering just offers a little over $4,000 in loans.

However, there is another way you can volunteer and have some or all of your loans paid for. There is a small non-profit organization called Sponsorchange.org. Their mission is to “provide non-profits a solution to increase their impact. Non-profits can easily recruit skilled college graduates to complete service projects and raise funds from sponsors to reward their work with student loan payments, helping both non-profits and college graduates reach their full potential.” I think what Sponsorchange.org is trying to do is very helpful.

Instead of simply donating money to these organizations, the donors are providing support for both the organizations and the students in debt. Sponsorchange.org says it’s hard to work for free when you are in debt. This is certainly true. If I was in debt, the first thing on my mind would be to get a paying job in order to lower and eventually pay off my loans, not to work anywhere for free.

Personally, I would volunteer for sponsorchange.org. I think volunteering is beneficial and everyone should volunteer. There are many other reasons to volunteer besides loan forgiveness, but let’s be realistic. Researchers at ProjectOnStudentDebt.org say 7 out of 10 students in 2013 graduated with loan debt. Those of us who will, could really use the help. I wouldn’t pass off an opportunity like Sponsorchange.org; it offers a lot of experience. I can help others with the knowledge I have received and also get the help I need with my student loans.

The loan forgiveness programs finaid.org offers are good for people who have a passion in these particular areas. Sponsorchange.org has broader options and can really help recent graduates who are unemployed.  Sponsorchange.org is even thinking of including something called virtual volunteering, where one can do grant writing or web design. Sponsorchange.org is a program all graduates who would leave college with loan debt should be aware of and consider. Sponsorchange.org offers many possibilities and seems to be very flexible, therefore it sounds like something I can manage to do when I graduate college.