Volunteer Your Way Out of Debt? | 03.07.11

Posted in Repayment By Student Loan Network Staff

If you could pay off your student loans by spending a few hours a week volunteering, would you? Well believe it or not, it’s possible. There are a couple of brand new organizations starting up that can help alleviate the burden of your student loans through volunteer work. Since the programs are relatively new, they are not yet nation-wide and are (or will be) based in Washington D.C., Dallas, TX and Pittsburgh, PA. These programs not only perform a service to people seeking student loan debt assistance, but are particularly noteworthy because they promote volunteerism and change within communities. The success of these pilot programs will be hugely influential both in local communities and for the millions of college graduates struggling to pay off their student loan debt.


Based in Pittsburgh PA, sponsorchange.org matches volunteers with local non-profit companies so that college graduates can use their unique skills to foster change. Payment for your services comes from generous businesses and donors who fund this noteworthy cause. Payment for a graduate’s services ranges from $10-$15 per hour and depends upon your skills and the skills required for the tasks being performed. Volunteering through Sponsorchange.org may not be for everyone, as “change agents” must meet certain criteria to apply. This includes

  • Being a college graduate
  • Ability to prove student loan debt
  • Proven volunteer service
  • Leadership skills

Additionally, change agents are required to write blogs on their service experience along with uploading accompanying pictures of their volunteer efforts.


This organization works in a similar fashion. College grads get paid through the donations of generous individuals and businesses for their volunteer efforts. Volunteers are placed with local non-profits seeking help and get paid roughly $15/hr. Currently Charity for Debt will operate in Washington, D.C. and Dallas, TX and will be restricted to offering programs in these areas (for now). Before you are matched with a company to work with, you will be able to provide a list of your top three activities and hopefully be chosen for one! A benefit for paying your loans through this volunteer program is that your compensation will be tax-free!

These two organizations are the beginning of change for student loan holders. With the success of these initial programs comes the expansion to other cities nationwide. We look forward to seeing these programs succeed and to seeing what they can offer communities! If anyone has personal experience working through one of these organizations, post a comment to share your experience!

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19 Responses to “Volunteer Your Way Out of Debt?”

  1. Heather Edmonds says on January 15, 2013 at 7:25 pm:

    I d like more information about volunteering to pay off debt??? TYou for your time.

    Reply To This Comment
  2. Shirley Brisco says on November 28, 2011 at 10:55 pm:

    WOW, what an awesome concept, helping your community and receiving help with student loans. I owe so much money, over $600,000, that the only way I will ever pay this off is to win the lottery or die.

    Reply To This Comment
  3. Kurt Boyd says on September 26, 2011 at 9:57 pm:

    This type of programs should be done world wide, governments should provide for student volunteer programs that would help students rise back to their student loans.. Good information! Thanks and I really do appreciate this blog!

    Reply To This Comment
  4. Alternative Investment says on September 20, 2011 at 9:54 am:

    Under the ambitious program, college graduates are matched with nonprofit agencies to do skills-based service projects. Here’s how it works: SponsorChange.org assesses the needs of various nonprofits to define projects that have a narrow scope and a finite end date. Once the specific need is determined, SponsorChange.org recruits and screens college graduates who have student loan debt, and sends the nonprofits, corporate sponsors, and private donors a list of possible volunteers.

    Reply To This Comment
    • DebtUnderneath Debt says on February 24, 2012 at 11:12 am:

      I agree. Are there any of these programs in any other states?

      Reply To This Comment
  5. Andrew Witherspoon says on September 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm:

    I’m 42 now but I wish they had something like this when I was in college, which by the way I never got to finish.

    The thing is, I still owe money on student loans at the time did not understand how student loans affect credit scores.

    Now I know, ask my messed up credit rating. :)

    Is it possible that even though this is pretty new that it can work retroactively on really old debt? Say 20 years ago?

    Reply To This Comment
    • Student Loan Guru says on September 9, 2011 at 9:03 am:

      I don’t see why not, debt is debt. If your’re still paying off loans, then they should be eligible for these programs.

      Reply To This Comment
  6. student aid says on August 8, 2011 at 11:56 pm:

    what a great find! wish they had this program in NY!

    Reply To This Comment
  7. Monica says on May 10, 2011 at 10:54 am:

    Studies show that as early as 18 years old, a US student is already in debt!

    Reply To This Comment
  8. Jumbo Mortgages says on April 7, 2011 at 5:14 am:

    Nice Story! While reading this blog I got very useful information about debt. Keep Sharing…

    Reply To This Comment
  9. Cryn Johannsen says on March 11, 2011 at 5:12 pm:

    Here’s another option as well. It was developed by EduLender, and it’s called the Tuition Gift Registry. The name says a lot about the way in which one can pay down their student loans. Check it out: edulender.com/college-tuition-fundraising/

    By the way, I have been SponsorChange’s Online Brand Advocate, and think their program is superb.

    -Cryn Johannsen
    Managing Editor, EduLender
    Founder & Exec. Dir., All Education Matters

    Reply To This Comment
  10. Tracy says on March 10, 2011 at 9:05 pm:

    OMG this seems like a HUGE opportunity that I’m willing to do…Students loans suck and they are ruining my life as well as many other americans. I am willing to do just about anything to get rid of this life long debt. I hope this program works and becomes nation wide ASAP. *fingerscrossed*

    Reply To This Comment
  11. Grace C says on March 9, 2011 at 8:55 am:

    You didn’t mention the DC and Dallas ones…

    Reply To This Comment
    • Student Loan Guru says on March 9, 2011 at 10:33 am:

      @Grace- Good catch! Charity for Debt does not operate in PA, but is looking to start up in Washington D.C and Dalas, TX, (and potentially expanding to OK). The post has been edited with this info!

      Reply To This Comment
      • Amy says on September 28, 2011 at 1:26 pm:

        What about Louisiana?

      • Student Loan Guru says on September 29, 2011 at 7:48 am:

        Unfortunately, since these are just pilot programs, they’re restricted to certain areas. Hopefully, with the success of the programs will be an expansion nationwide.

  12. Yosie B. says on March 7, 2011 at 1:34 pm:

    Wow that’s awesome to be able to pay off a debt by doing voulenteer work. I voulenteer at an animal shelter :)

    Reply To This Comment

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