You’ve just graduated from college, with a major you feel passionate about, and the debt to prove it. What’s next? Getting a job? Not so easy. An increasingly tight job market and impossible student loan debt has resulted in limited job opportunities for young, college educated adults. And while current U.S. election campaigns promise student loan debt solutions, relief may not be on the immediate horizon. With this in mind, many college graduates, especially in the age of millennials, turn to volunteering, internships, or other forms of charitable giving in order to boost their job perspectives.
- Volunteering promotes happiness. In giving to those in need, volunteering instills a sense of purpose, social gratification and stress reduction. Whether running errands, walking dogs, or donating technological expertise to a community outreach or global cause, giving grows not only skills but a sense of belonging.
- Volunteering promotes social gratification. Giving your time to community shelters, election campaigns, religious outreach, or any number of social justice causes, builds networks of like-minded friends, and resources to further advance personal and professional goals.
- Volunteering promotes stress reduction and professional growth. Helping out improves social skills and spirits, along with that feel-good, physical, and psychological rush assisting others. Bonus? You bet. Volunteers also develops career experience and improves skills — both new and old.
- Volunteering promotes career exploration and loan forgiveness. There’s no better way to learn about unexplored interests than to delve into those interests through the many volunteer-avenues available to young professionals today. Through a volunteer opportunity, college graduates not only benefit from learning new skills, but gain valuable exposure, and insights, to new job and career-path opportunities. In addition, volunteering may offer debt relief to struggling college graduates who choose to pursue a public service job. For example, the Perkins loan allows the recipient to receive complete debt forgiveness in five years if they work in a public service job as a doctor, lawyer, or teachers, for example.
Other Public Service and Loan Forgiveness Plans allow working teachers, particularly in low income areas, to qualify for a ten year loan balance forgiveness or partial forgiveness of up to $17,500 in certain situations.
How Should College Students Get Involved?
While taking on a volunteer role may sound great, there are many ways to give back to your community.
- Work for non-profits. Nonprofits–ranging from community associations, soup kitchens and churches to the private and university foundations — Sierra Club, Peace Corps and United Steel Workers Labor Union — are one of the largest employing sectors that provide ample opportunity for graduates to gain experience, education, and financial assistance.
- Build networks in support of social causes. Whether donating to online crowdfunding for favorite causes and charities, or connecting with friends, colleagues or alumni to volunteer time, graduates give back. College graduates may contribute invaluable time, money, social media community currency and expertise to bolster causes through professional, workplace and personal organizations.
- Alumni Giving: Students donate their time for numerous reasons, most prominently for altruism, social connection and “human capital” or personal and marketable improvement through experience and education, according to a report from the National Governor’s Association. But also, for a love of their school, since some of the longest lasting relationships are formed during undergraduate years as students build intellectual, and personal experiences.
Gratitude for experiences, skills, growth, and friendships nurtured in college inspire graduates to donate long after their time on campus has ended. The definitive test of a graduate’s love for their alma mater and the larger world is in giving back as much, no matter how little, as they can.
My Class Gift exists to transform higher education alumni giving through a unique and innovative crowdfunding platform and senior class gift model. To learn more, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.