Top 25 Universities For Non-Profit And Community Service Ranked By Return

Advertisement BestValueSchools.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Are you ready to find your fit?

Top Schools for Non-Profit and Community Service

If you have embarked upon a college search and are interested in a career in community service or in the non-profit sector, it is likely that one of the criteria you’re looking for in a college or university is how community-minded they are, and therefore are looking at schools ranked high for service.

Many schools have initiatives that allow students to get involved with their community. It’s a beneficial thing for any student to be involved in one of these initiatives. However, for some students, working with non-profit, charitable organizations is what they wish to do with their lives. These students that wish to go above and beyond to help their fellow man deserve a school that has the same sort of philosophy.

Ranking Methodology

In order to arrive at our list of the top schools ranked high for service, we first took a look at Washington Monthly’s 25 schools most devoted to service, as detailed in their 2013 National Universities Rankings, which evaluates schools based on their contribution to the overall public good in three ways: social mobility, research, and service. A total of 284 schools made the cut. The major service categories weighted by Washington Monthly are Community Service Participation and Hours Served, Service Staff, Courses, Financial Aid Support, ROTC Participation among Students and Alumni, Student and Alumni Involvement in the Peace Corps, and Federal Work Study Funds Spent on Community Service.

The schools were then ranked by the average 30 year net return on investment according to payscale.com. Just because a student isn’t concerned primarily with financial gain, doesn’t mean money shouldn’t be taken into consideration. Students would do well to remind themselves that the higher the ROI, the faster they can get out of debt and get on their way to being able to serve their communities.

Below you will find our list of the Top 25 schools that are known for service, as ranked by their return on investment. Along with the school’s overall service rating, you will find each institution’s top three rated service categories accompanied by a short summary detailing the school’s attitude toward service and the programs the school has to help students get involved.

Ranking the Top Service-Oriented Schools by 30 Year Return on Investment

Rank School Location
1 University of Notre Dame Notre Dame, IN
2 Texas A&M University-College Station College Station, TX
3 Tufts University Medford, MA
4 College of William and Mary Williamsburg, VA
5 Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA
6 University of California-San Diego La Jolla, CA
7 Case Western Reserve University Cleveland, OH
8 University of California-Los Angeles Los Angeles, CA
9 Vanderbilt University Nashville, TN
10 George Washington University Washington, DC
Advertisement BestValueSchools.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Featured Online Programs

Figuring out where to apply? These top, accredited schools offer a variety of online degrees. Consider one of these accredited programs, and discover their value today.

  1. University of Notre Dame
    Location

    Notre Dame, IN

    Notre Dame is home to the Center for Social Concerns, which houses community based learning resources and conducts community based research, among other activities. A Catholic school, Notre Dame has always had a focus on community outreach and the Center for Social Concerns has been an active part of the university for nearly thirty years. With an average 30 year ROI of $1.25 million, investing in an education at UND is a wise financial and personal investment.

    Washington Monthly Overall Service Ranking: #4
    Payscale 30 Year Average Net ROI: $1.25 Million

    3 Highest Ranked Service Categories
    ROTC Participation among Students and Alumni: #10
    Service Staff, Courses, and Financial Aid Support: #23
    Community Service Participation and Hours Served: #35

  2. Texas A&M University-College Station
    Location

    College Station, TX

    Texas A&M places great value in student engagement in community service. Community service is seen as an opportunity for students to gain perspective, and benefit both personally and academically. In 2013, Texas A&M was named to the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The honor roll is intended to single out schools with an exceptional reputation for student involvement in the community, and Texas A&M University certainly fits that bill, seeking to instill a mindset of civic responsibility in its students.

    Washington Monthly Overall Service Ranking: #2
    Payscale 30 Year Average Net ROI: $1.05 Million

    3 Highest Ranked Service Categories
    ROTC Participation Among Students and Alumni: #1
    Federal Work Study Funds Spent on Community Service: #16 (37%)
    Community Service Participation and Hours Served: #54

  3. Tufts University
    Location

    Medford, MA

    Tufts boasts a robust array of service learning programs custom tailored to specific majors like medicine and public health, among others. These programs are designed to provide students the opportunity to gain valuable academic and real world experience while developing a sense of civic responsibility and serving their community.

    Washington Monthly Overall Service Ranking: #12
    Payscale 30 Year Average Net ROI: $1.05 Million

    3 Highest Ranked Service Categories
    Student and Alumni Involvement in the Peace Corps: #4
    Service Staff, Courses, and Financial Aid Support: #10
    Federal Work Study Funds Spent on Service: #74 (22%)

  4. College of William and Mary
    Location

    Williamsburg, VA

    Founded in 1693, the College of William and Mary is one of the oldest schools in the United States. The Office of Community Engagement at William and Mary leverages the passion of its students to improve the local community, and the world. The Alternative Breaks program allows students to do something significant on their school breaks, traveling to any number of locations around the world and gaining valuable international experience and perspective while working to better the lives of the poorest people in the poorest nations. There are also many local community outreach programs available to students that provide a wide range of experiences, from tutoring children in low income neighborhoods, to cooking for and providing food to nearly 200 local residents in need.

    Washington Monthly Overall Service Ranking: #10
    Payscale 30 Year Average Net ROI: $1.04 Million

    3 Highest Ranked Service Categories
    Student and Alumni Involvement with the Peace Corps: #3
    Community Service Participation and Hours Served: #24
    Service Staff, Courses, and Financial Aid Support: #48

  5. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
    Location

    Blacksburg, VA

    It's rare for a university to have a high participation in both the ROTC and the Peace Corps among its students. Virginia Tech is an anomaly, boasting one of the three highest ROTC participation rates, and the 77th highest Peace Corps Participation rate in the nation. The school provides students with many opportunities to be involved in myriad ways, believing wholeheartedly that community service is a valuable experience, both personally and academically.

    Washington Monthly Overall Service Ranking: #16
    Payscale 30 Year Average Net ROI: $1.04 Million

    3 Highest Ranked Service Categories
    Student and Alumni Involvement in the Peace Corps: #77
    Community Service Participation and Hours: #61
    ROTC Participation Among Students and Alumni: #3

  6. University of California-San Diego
    Location

    La Jolla, CA

    UCSD wants its students to engage with the surrounding community, both for their own personal benefit, and because when a community is strengthened, everybody in that community benefits. Students have the opportunity to learn first hand about the community, the challenges that face it, and how through civic service, these challenges can be overcome.

    Washington Monthly Overall Service Ranking: #26*
    Payscale 30 Year Average Net ROI: $1.04 Million

    3 Highest Ranked Service Categories
    Student and Alumni Involvement in the Peace Corps: #36
    Community Service Participation and Hours: #38
    Federal Work Study Funds Spent on Service: #29 (32%)

  7. Case Western Reserve University
    Location

    Cleveland, OH

    Commitment to service is deeply ingrained in the academic philosophy of Case Western, as evidenced as their #1 spot on Washington Monthly's ranking of service-oriented schools. The service learning ethos embraced by the school provides students with experiential learning opportunities crafted in cooperation with local partners with the goal of enhancing the academic experience while encouraging a mindset of civic responsibility.

    Washington Monthly Overall Service Ranking: #1
    Payscale 30 Year Average Net ROI: $956,000

    3 Highest Ranked Service Categories
    Service Staff, Courses, and Financial Aid Support: #3
    Federal Work Study Funds Spent on Service: #6 (47%)
    Community Service Participation and Hours Served: #12

  8. University of California-Los Angeles
    Location

    Los Angeles, CA

    Students attending UCLA should expect to be involved in the local community. The school runs many outreach programs in the Los Angeles area and provides students with extensive service learning opportunities.

    Washington Monthly Overall Service Ranking: #24
    Payscale 30 Year Average Net ROI: $890,700

    3 Highest Ranked Service Categories
    Student and Alumni Involvement in the Peace Corps: #24
    Service Staff, Courses, and Financial Aid Support: #108
    Community Service Participation and Hours: #28

  9. Vanderbilt University
    Location

    Nashville, TN

    Vanderbilt has both the official Office of Active Citizenship, and a community service initiative run by the Office of Greek Life. Both organizations provide students with a wide range of service opportunities. The Office of Active Citizenship offers students service learning opportunities, and provides students the chance to spend their work study time doing community service. The opportunities offered through the Office of Active Citizenship provide students the chance to engage in experiences locally, nationally, and internationally.

    Washington Monthly Overall Service Ranking: #19
    Payscale 30 Year Average Net ROI: $861,200

    3 Highest Ranked Service Categories
    Student and Alumni Involvement in the Peace Corps: #49
    Community Service Participation and Hours: #23
    Federal Work Study Funds Spent on Service: #24 (33%)

  10. George Washington University
    Location

    Washington, DC

    George Washington University's Center for Civic Engagement and Public Service exists to combine education and civil service for the betterment of both students and the community in which they live. GWU offers over 45 service learning courses in their curriculum each year. The goal of the Center and the service learning courses is to provide both students and faculty with the opportunity to apply their techniques and theories in a context that will improve the community as the student learns.

    Washington Monthly Overall Service Ranking: #9
    Payscale 30 Year Average Net ROI: $852,200

    3 Highest Ranked Service Categories
    Student and Alumni Involvement with the Peace Corps: #5
    Federal Work Study Funds Spent on Service: #32 (31%)
    Service Staff, Courses, and Financial Aid Support: #47

Service and community-minded individuals looking for a school that supports their world view will benefit from checking out all of the schools on this list that are known for the altruistic opportunities they provide to their students. If you’re interested in maximizing your education dollar even more, find a scholarship that is eligible to be used at the schools on this list by checking out our State Listing of Scholarships Available to Full and Part Time College Students; it’s the perfect way to attain an even bigger return on your investment from these Top 25 Schools Ranked High for Service.

*Since only those schools that had ROI information provided by payscale.com were included in our list, and those that did not have that information available were excluded, 2 of the schools here have an overall Washington Monthly ranking that exceeds #25.

Get prepared for your next steps

Use articles and resources to uncover answers to common questions, get guidance on your goals, and learn about applying to schools.


Top 5 Best Value Doctorate in Information Systems Assurance & Security Programs Online

Top 5 Best Value Doctorate in Information Systems Assurance & Security Programs Online

August 11, 2020   |   Staff Writers

As technology becomes an ever-increasing part of our lives, the demand for information systems security experts grows, and with it, the need for online Ph.D. information security programs. In this ranking, we explore the best value online doctorate information security programs available today. Rating and Ranking Methodology Tuition Points Under $20,000—3 points Under $15,000—4 points […]

Nonprofit Management Scholarships – Best Value Schools

Nonprofit Management Scholarships – Best Value Schools

August 11, 2020   |   Staff Writers

If you’re looking to land nonprofit management scholarships, you may be surprised to discover that there are numerous awards available from professional organizations and universities to recognize your kind-hearted spirit for community service. With nearly 1.3 million nonprofit agencies operating in the United States alone, it’s clear that nonprofits play a vital role in our […]

Advertisement BestValueSchools.com is an advertising-supported site. Featured or trusted partner programs and all school search, finder, or match results are for schools that compensate us. This compensation does not influence our school rankings, resource guides, or other editorially-independent information published on this site.

Discover a program that is right for you.

Explore different options for you based on your degree interests.