Q: Where did the Honor Roll come from?
A: The Corporation for National and Community Service created the Honor Roll in 2006 to identify, collect, and recognize the outstanding service taking place at higher education institutions across the nation.
Q: What is the purpose of the Honor Roll?
A: The 2013 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll shifts the emphasis from outputs, such as numbers of service participants, to community outcomes, such as the changes that result from the service activities. In this way, the Honor Roll encourages colleges and universities to deepen their practice of service.
Q: What is the definition of community service?
A: For the purpose of Honor Roll eligibility, community service consists of organized programs that address community issues across a variety of service areas, including, but not limited to, education, health, economic opportunity, the environment, disaster preparedness, or other human needs.
Q: What organizations sponsor the Honor Roll?
A: The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, supported by the U.S. Departments of Education and Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, the American Council on Education, and other higher education associations.
Q: Where can I find information about the year's Special Focus Area?
A: Institutions applying in the Special Focus Area category should review the application guidance for descriptions of the Promise Neighborhood model, innovations in early childhood education, and summer learning.
The Promise Neighborhoods model is designed to improve the educational and developmental outcomes of all children in our most distressed communities, and transform those communities by improving education outcomes. In this effort, the institution of higher education works with partners to develop wrap around services designed to improve educational and developmental outcomes for children in their communities.
Innovation in Early Childhood Education is intended to improve educational outcomes for young children (birth through 3rd grade) by enhancing the quality of early learning programs for high-need students. College or university service projects must use innovative practices and strategies to improve young children's school readiness.
Summer Learning helps reduce the academic achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth during the critical summer months. Effective summer learning opportunities improve academic outcomes for youth, can lead to higher graduation rates and can lead to better preparation for college. Institutions of higher education working in this area increase the opportunity for youth to participate in high quality summer learning programs.
Q: Do applicants have to be grantees or sub-grantees of Learn and Serve America or another program administered by the Corporation for National and Community Service?
A: NO. All accredited, degree-granting institutions of higher education in the U.S. are eligible to apply.
Q: If our institution was listed on the Honor Roll or received a Presidential Award last year, are we eligible to apply again?
A: Absolutely. The Honor Roll is an annual program, and new Presidential Award winners are selected each year.
Q: Basic Honor Roll eligibility. What are "meaningful, relevant, and exemplary" programs? Do the descriptions relate to numbers of students participating, dollar amounts, etc.?
A: Honor Roll membership does not require specific numbers of students, etc. The community service performed must have been in response to real needs and there must be tangible community benefits. Projects must be worthy of being held up as examples for other schools and students.
Q: General Community Service vs. Special Focus area. Must our school have supported services in the Special Focus area, to be eligible for this year's Honor Roll? What about the Presidential Awards?
A: Honor Roll membership does not require that an institution's students have been specifically involved this year's Special Focus Area.
Up to three Presidential Awards will be for institutions whose students were heavily involved in the Special Focus area. However, other Awards will be reserved for General Community Service. Separate sections of the application provide information related to the Special Focus area and to General Community Service. Applicant institutions may choose to complete either or both of these sections.
Q: Are for-profit/proprietary schools eligible to participate in the Honor Roll?
A: Yes, as long as they are degree-granting and accredited.
Q: Are student projects eligible for inclusion in the application if they began prior to the academic year 2011-2012? How about those that were in planning but did not begin operations until after June 30, 2012?
A: All student service projects that were active at any time during the period July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012 may be included. For projects that started earlier than the reporting period, please only report on service completed during the program year. Activities that were in planning during that period, but not operational until after June 30, 2012, are not eligible for inclusion in this year's Honor Roll application. However, such projects should be included in your institution's application for the 2013 Honor Roll.
Q: If my institution applied in the past using an on-going/long-term project as an example, can I use the same project again as an example in the current application?
A: Yes, as long as the project description details how the project has changed during the current program year.
Q: If our institution collaborated with other institutions of higher education on a community service project, should we include our participation in that project as part of our application?
A: Yes. Each institution should include its students' contributions to such a collaborative community service project – both in the service statistics and in the project description sections of the application. However, please include only data about/descriptions of your student's contributions.
Q: Are internship and service hours required as part of academic courses and programs eligible for inclusion in the reporting of student community service hours and projects?
A: Yes. However, only hours spent in community service projects (not classroom hours) may be included.
Q: Are the service activities of graduate and professional students eligible for inclusion in the Honor Roll application?
Q: Are free-standing graduate and professional schools (not connected with undergraduate schools) eligible to apply?
A: Yes. They simply need to be accredited and degree-granting institutions located in a U.S. state or territory.
Q: Are service projects that benefit communities located in foreign countries eligible for inclusion in the Honor Roll application?
A: Yes, as long as the higher education institution itself is located in the U.S.
Q: The Honor Roll guidance indicates that the percentage of an institution's Federal Work-Study devoted to community service will be used in reviewing the application. Where do I enter those figures?
A: You do not have to enter those figures into your application. The Department of Education provides the Corporation the latest Federal Work-Study figures for your institution.
Q: What is the statutory minimum Federal Work-Study community service requirement?
A: The Higher Education Act requires that at least 7% of a participating institution's annual Federal Work-Study funding must be used for community service work.
Q: Can an institution be listed on the Honor Roll if it fails to meet the statutory minimum Federal Work-Study community service requirement?
A: No. If an institution's most recently reported figures fall below 7%, it will not be included on the Honor Roll.
Q: If my college doesn't participate in Federal Work-Study, are we eligible for the Honor Roll and Presidential Awards?
A: Yes. All degree-granting higher education institutions are eligible, whether or not they participate in Federal Work-Study. The 7% Work-Study community service requirement applies only to those colleges that participate in the Federal Work-Study program.
Application / Technical Issues
Q: Do I have to complete and submit the application online? Can I print the form and mail it in instead?
A: All applications MUST be submitted electronically via the online application system. Paper copies will NOT be accepted.
Q: Does the application need to be filled out by a specific person (e.g. the college president)?
A: The application should be filled out by a person designated by your president/chancellor (often a community service or service-learning coordinator, student affairs dean, etc.).
Q: May applications be submitted from multiple offices that sponsor student community service on one campus?
A: No. Only one application is allowed per institution.
Q: Should a state-wide or other multi-campus university system apply on behalf of all of its associated campuses/institutions?
A: No, the Honor Roll program is designed to highlight community service support by individual college or university campuses. The individual institutions must apply separately.
Q: When is the application due?
A: All applications are due November 29, 2012 by 5:00PM Eastern Standard Time.
Q: What if I fail to meet the deadline?
A: In order to be considered for the 2013 Honor Roll, your application must be submitted on November 29, 2012 by 5:00 PM Eastern Time.
Q: Is there a way in which I can present my program's measurable results in the application?
A: Yes. Under the application's "Exemplary Project Descriptions" section applicants are allotted 1,500 – 2,000 characters to briefly describe their projects. In their descriptions, applicants should include evidence of their projects' effectiveness such as estimated number of individuals served, number of houses cleaned, renovated, built, etc.
Q: Why can't I enter all of the description I want to in the Project Description fields?
A: The first Project Description field is limited to 2,000 characters while the two subsequent Project Description fields are limited to 1,500 characters each. None of the narrative blocks will allow more characters than designated.
Q: Must the student service projects and numbers included in the application involve only volunteer, not paid community service?
A: No. Federal Work-Study, pre-professional internships and other forms of paid community service activities should be included – as long as they meet the definition of community service and took place during the eligible academic year.
Q: What should I do if I don't have exact data to answer a particular question?
A: Estimates are acceptable if exact data are not available; but please make your best effort to estimate accurately.
Q: How many projects can I describe?
A: Each application must describe 3 projects in the "Exemplary Service Projects – General" section; and/or 3 projects in the "Exemplary Service Projects – Special Focus Area" section.
Q: Is there an option for me to save progress on my application so that I may quit the screen and return to the same place on the application at a later time or different location?
A: Your application is saved to the system automatically as you advance through the application. You may also save at any time by clicking on the "Save" button at the bottom of every page.
Q: Once I hit the "Submit" button, may I go back in and change/improve our institution's application?
A: No. You can only make changes to your application BEFORE you hit "Submit." Once you have submitted the application you may not re-open it. Thus, please be very careful to ensure that all questions are answered completely BEFORE submitting the application.
Q: How will I know whether our application has been received?
A: You will receive a confirmation email within one hour of submitting your application. If you do not receive a confirmation email within 24 hours, please contact Honor Roll Support at 202-606-3222.
Q: Can I send additional documentation to demonstrate the quality and impacts of our student projects?
A: No. Please do not send any supplementary materials (such as brochures, videotapes, etc.) along with your application. You will have the option to upload digital photos via the website, but these photos will not be used during the review process. Applicants should be prepared to provide documentation of partnerships and other support described in the narrative such as Memoranda of Understanding and evaluations. Applicants may be invited to provide such information at a later time.
Q: Where can we go to obtain technical assistance if we encounter problems completing or submitting the Honor Roll application?
A: You can contact the Honor Roll application Customer Support Desk via the online form at http://myproject.nationalservice.gov/honorroll/Public/Help/SupportCase.aspx or by hitting the "Support" button on the website. Most requests will be answered within 24 hours if submitted during business hours, 8:00am to 6:00pm, Monday through Friday.
Awards / Benefits
Q: What are the benefits of Honor Roll membership and Presidential Awards?
A: Honor Roll members will be listed with excerpts from their project descriptions on the Corporation's website, as well as being eligible for other media and publicity opportunities. In addition to being listed on the Honor Roll, Presidential Award winners will be presented with Presidential Award trophies and certificates signed by the President of the United States. As service programs and initiatives grow, colleges and universities are reaping the benefits of service --- attracting high quality faculty and students, enriching learning, and building stronger alumni and community ties.
Q: Is there a financial benefit?
A: The Corporation is prohibited by statute from making financial awards of any kind.
Q: What are the Presidential Award selection criteria? Are certain areas more important than others?
A: Applications for the Honor Roll will be evaluated in three categories: Institutional Supports for Service, the Institutional Commitment to Service Statement, and Exemplary Project Descriptions. This year the Honor Roll will shift the emphasis from outputs to long-term institutional commitments to service and the impact for the service on the community. The output information, such as levels of student participation in community service activities and service-learning courses (relative to enrollment); the institution's Federal Work-Study community service participation rate (if the school participates in the Federal Work-Study program); whether the institution supports at least one full-time student service or service-learning coordinator; and whether the institution provides scholarships or other financial rewards for service, such as "matching" of the Segal AmeriCorps Education Award are still important. A description of the selection factors can be found in the Application Guidance for 2013.
This year's review will focus on these new factors. Please take care to provide detailed and concrete information about project scope, evidence of project effectiveness, and impact on the community; and do not include descriptions of projects for which you do not have detailed and compelling information.
Q: Who is reviewing the applications and deciding on awards?
A: Reviewers include: staff and officials of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the U.S. Department of Education, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, along with higher education faculty and service/service-learning practitioners.
Q: Will we receive documentation of Honor Roll membership if we are named to the Honor Roll?
A: Yes. All Honor Roll member institutions are listed on the Corporation for National and Community Service's website, and all receive certificates of Honor Roll membership.
Q: Are students, faculty, college staff, or community service directors being recognized by the Honor Roll program?
A: Honor Roll membership and Presidential Awards are designed to recognize higher education institutions as a whole. There are no explicit awards for students, college/university staff, or other individuals. However, the institutional awards indirectly reward, and are a positive reflection upon, all individuals, offices and agencies involved.