Cincinnatus Community Service Requirement

Community Service Defined

"Those services designed to improve the quality of life
for community residents (general public), particularly low income individuals,
or solving problems related to their needs."

 – National Community Service Act of 1990

The above description is the basis for defining scholarship renewal-acceptable community service. Further criteria* used to differentiate scholarship service from volunteerism are that the service meets an unmet need and the provider of the service is not directly benefited. In cases of fund raising, the monies raised should not support an organization for which you are a member.

Sometimes scholars assume an activity will meet service requirements only to find out an activity does not meet the Cincinnatus definition. Please feel free to contact us at to pre-check any service activity and its meeting of the Cincinnatus definition.

Scholarship Renewal Requirements

Records of scholarship awardees are reviewed after spring term to see that the following criteria are met:

  • 3.2 cumulative GPA, 
  • 15 hours of service completed for each semester of scholarship funding in an academic year (up to 30 hours annually), and
  • No more than 10 hours of on-campus service annually.

This average of one hour of service a week is easily met (and often exceeded) by scholars.

Students complete their required service hours between the first day of fall and last day of spring and are not limited to completing service within Cincinnati. Students do not receive scholarship funding during co-op terms, but scholars can still complete service hours for scholarship renewal while on co-op.

While service hours and GPA are checked annually rather than term-by-term, it is important for students seeking renewal of their scholarship not to wait until the end of the academic year to complete service hours.

Students are strongly encouraged to complete service hours off-campus. To avoid further tax penalties under IRS regulations, the university must not normally pay a wage for any on-campus service you provide. Finally, on-campus service must involve a program, project or service open to the general public.

Service Options

Teaching an under-privileged child to read, building a home for a family in need, raising money for a service agency, or helping a disadvantaged individual become more self-sufficient are examples of the wide variety of service opportunities students have sought.

At the same time, sharing your talents in the course of normal activities such as tutoring a peer, mowing the neighbor's lawn, assisting at your place of worship, or babysitting are not acceptable. Political campaigns, because they assist a person who would be advancing an agenda that could be helpful to you, are also not considered scholarship-acceptable service.

The Center for Community Engagement (2639 Clifton Avenue - Stratford Heights Building #19; 513-556-1559; can assist you in exploring service options. Their Web site provides listings of and links to upcoming events, they offer a subscription service to their volunteer listserv, and they host the online volunteer system.

Because all opportunities you explore may not meet the scholarship renewal service criteria, feel free to contact the Cincinantus Program at to inquire about the acceptability of a particular activity at any time.

Diverse service opportunities provide meaningful, personally rewarding and academically relevant ways for you to fulfill your service requirement. Cincinnatus and related scholarship programs encourage you to extend yourself and assist people who are different from you to gain a better understanding of your community and help those persons who are truly in need.

Eligibility Time Limit

Cincinnatus, UC Global, and UC National Outreach awards are made to students with a limit of a 4-year equivalency (12 quarters, 8 semesters, or a combination thereof) of eligibility consideration. Because students can only receive these scholarship funds when registered for classes, students in co-op programs generally remain eligible throughout their bachelor's degree.  Students who continue in a degree-granting program (even if they graduate from their initial bachelor's degree) can continue to be awarded these funds if they have not exhausted their time limit and they remain eligible for scholarship renewal.

Students who fail to meet renewal criteria continue to have in-class (non-co-op) terms of enrollment count against the 4-year equivalency measure.

Scholars should also be aware of UC scholarship limits.

student volunteers

Cincinnatus, UC Global, and UC National Outreach Scholars must submit their verified service hours using