What Counts as Service Learning Hours?

  • Hours must be completed through a non-profit (501c3), government agency, or school.  A faith-based organization can be approved as long as the service is part of their outreach to other non-profits in the community. Service hours completed at senior/retirement centers, both for and non-profit, will count. Please refer to the pre-approved, non-profit list on LetServe. Please note, 

    Working without pay at your job or for a family business does not qualify as Service Learning. The goal in Service Learning is to learn and develop through active participation in thoughtfully organized service experiences.

    Examples of general volunteer work that will count toward Service Learning Hours:

    • Hospitals
    • Non-profit animal services
    • Any healthcare/illness related non-profits
    • Non-profit environmental agencies
    • Senior Centers/Assisted-Living Communities (both for- and non-profits)
    • City beautification projects
    • Museums 
    • Veterans services
    • School-Related (see below)
    • Faith-based Related (see below)

    School-Related Volunteer Hours

    Any school-related service activity must be focused on serving the school community at large, not just an individual. All hours must be completed outside of the regular school day hours, and supervisors will need to register the school agency through LetServe prior to being approved for service.

    Examples of Service Learning that will count:

    • Volunteering with a school-based club by organizing or working at a school food/book/clothing drive (Donations do not count toward service hours; the planning or actual service does)
    • Performing with your school choir/band/theater group for a senior center, nursing home, daycare, etc. outside of school hours and not for school credit
    • Managing or coaching younger teams of students in middle or elementary school under education and enrichment activities for children
    • Tutoring students as part of a school club or non-profit agency

    Examples of Service Learning that will not count:

    • Working at concession stands to raise money for clubs or for-profit businesses
    • Holding a car wash or other fundraiser that benefits a school club or sports team (If the proceeds benefit a nonprofit (501c3) organization, the hours would count).
    • School club hours do not count for general business/meetings (however, time spent planning and participating in volunteer service benefitting the outside community will count).
    • Hosting students from other schools or international exchange students

    For questions, please refer to the Policy and Guidelines.

    Faith-Based Service Learning Hours

    Many of the hours served with your faith-based community may be counted depending on the type of service activity. Please read the guidelines below carefully as not all hours will count.

    Faith-based hours that will count toward Service Learning must benefit the external community.  These would be considered part of an outreach program.

    • volunteering with a church-run food bank, clothing bank, or congregate meal service

    • volunteering for an outside nonprofit (501c3) community- based organization

    • performing volunteer service work on a mission trip (like rebuilding a community after a disaster, building a school, digging a well, etc.)

    Faith-based hours that will not count toward Service Learning:

    • Volunteering in the church choir, band, or performances
    • Volunteering to usher in church
    • Volunteering in a faith-based nursery during services or classes
    • Volunteering to visit members, proselytize, run a booth to pass out faith-specific information, etc.
    • Vacation Bible Schools and/or camps that focus on specific faiths


    Can I count hours from club meetings?

    If you participate in a school service club, you may count any hours that are spent organizing and implementing a service project. If you are in a club that uses meeting times to discuss other club business, you may not count those hours. Only hours spent planning and participating in a service project will count as Service Learning Hours. There must be a supervisor present.

    I volunteer as a sports manager with my school’s team. Do these hours count?

    Students are able to get hours for a variety of events through the athletic departments. Managers can receive hours during the athletic events, only. Students may receive hours based on events throughout the year. Please look on LetServe to see what is offered.

    I have to complete community service hours for a class.  Can I count these hours?

    Any hours completed as a requirement for a class, do not count toward your Service Learning Hours. Additional hours completed after the hours have been met, can count toward service learning.

    Can I count my time babysitting or helping out my neighbor with yard work?

    This work does not count for service hours.  

    I volunteered with a local company but wasn’t paid for my work. Can I count these hours?

    If the company is a registered non-profit organization, and listed in LetServe, the hours may count. If it is a for-profit business, the hours will not count.  Be sure to check the list of approved organizations on LetServe prior to beginning any service hours.

    Can my parent or sibling be the contact for my verification of hours?

    Parents and/or family members are not approved for signing off on their own child’s hours. Only an employee who works for the non-profit organization, and supervises the actual work, can approve service hours.

    Can a student approve another student’s Service Learning Hours?  

    No. A staff member, club advisor, or supervisor at the non-profit site are to approve student hours.

    I volunteered as part of a political campaign, do these hours count?

    No, hours spent volunteering as part of a political campaign for an individual candidate or cause, will not count toward Service Learning. However, hours spent helping with an organization that is nonpartisan can count. For example, voter registration would count toward service learning hours.

    I job shadowed. Can I count these hours?

    No. Hours spent performing a job shadow does not count toward Service Learning. Only actual service work for the community will count.

    If I get a job as an intern, but do not get paid, can I count those hours for Service Learning?

    No. An internship is not on the approved list for getting service hours. 

    I registered and paid to go on a trip with a for-profit travel company. While there, we participated in some non-profit work.  Will the hours count?

    No. We do not approve for-profit businesses.  We also do not approve service work for camps, classes, or non-profits that charge a fee or tuition.