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Community Engagement Scholars Program:

Program Info and Frequently Asked Questions



The Scholars Program is open to all degree-seeking undergraduate students at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. To enroll, you must have at least 4 semesters (2 years) left before graduating. We encourage you to enroll as early as possible.

The Basics

  1. How do I enroll in the Community Engagement Scholars program?
  2. What are the program requirements?
  3. What are the benefits to participating?
  4. How does the Scholars Program communicate with students in the program? How will I get important updates?
  5. What are restricted, unlimited, and unuseable hours?
  6. How did the Scholars Program get started?

Details about Counting Required Hours

  1. How can I receive retroactive recognition for earlier community work?
  2. If I take more than 8 credits of service-learning courses, can I still count the hours?
  3. If I participate in a HECUA program, how does that figure into CESP?
  4. Can I count hours I do over the summer at an organization in my hometown?
  5. If I volunteer abroad, will those hours count?
  6. Will work done through a religious group count toward my hours?
  7. Will a service trip over winter/spring break count toward my hours?
  8. If I receive a small stipend for my work, do the hours still count as restricted?
  9. Can I count work I'm doing through a research project on campus?
  10. Can the work I do for my student group count?

The Basics

  1. How do I enroll in the Community Engagement Scholars program?
    To learn more about the Scholars Program or how to enroll in it, attend a Scholars Program Info Session. You must attend an Info Session to be eligible to enroll in the program. See our Info Sessions page for the schedule. (Click an Info Session date to register.) The Info Session will help you decide if the Scholars Program is a good fit for you.

    Info Sessions are offered throughout Fall and Spring semesters. You'll get program details and have plenty of time to ask questions.
  2. What are the program requirements?
    See a summary of all the Scholars Program requirements here. Among other requirements, you need to complete 400 hour of community engagement work (such as volunteering). You will need to do a final project, called the Intergrative Community Engagement Project (ICEP).
  3. What are the benefits to participating?
    You'll receive official recognition from the University of Minnesota (on your transcript, at commencement, and more). More importantly, your education will be broadened and deepened. For a detailed list of the recognition and benefits you'll receive, see our Scholars Program Benefits page.
  4. How does the Scholars Program communicate with students in the program? How will I get important updates?
    The Scholars Program communicates with enrolled students via email and Facebook. We send emails once or twice a month when there are important updates or reminders about the program. You'll never miss essential information, because we'll always email it to you directly. Students in the Scholars Program are also encouraged to follow our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/UMNCESP, where we post ideas for reflections, upcoming RAP Session topics and dates, and much more. Scholars students can also meet in person with program advisors on a regular basis.
  5. What are restricted, unlimited, and unuseable hours?
    Unlimited hours are those you complete by doing unpaid community service with nonprofit organizations. (These hours are also known as unrestricted hours.)
    Restricted
    hours include: paid work for a nonprofit; work on political campaigns and some political organizations; and hours that are part of a for-credit course.
    Unuseable hours are hours you can't count toward Scholars Program requirements. Unuseable hours include paid hours at a for-profit organization or company. Of the 400 hours required for the Scholars Program, up to 200 can be restricted, and any hours can be unrestricted.

    For more details, see the More about Hours page, or the Details about Counting Required Hours FAQ questions below. Note that Scholars advisors will help you figure these things out when you participate in the program.
  6. How did the Scholars Program get started?
    If you're interested in its history, see this background page for dates and more information.

Details about Counting Required Hours

  1. How can I receive retroactive recognition for community work I did before enrolling?
    If you did community work before enrolling in the Scholars Program, see our Retroactive Recognition page for information about what counts and how to get credit for it.
  2. If I take more than 8 credits of service-learning courses, can I still count the hours?
    Yes! All community work hours completed for your service-learning courses count toward the 400 community engagement hours the program requires. Hours linked to your first 8 credits of service-learning count as restricted. Additional hours completed through service-learning classes count as unlimited.
  3. If I participate in a HECUA program, how does that factor into the Scholars Program?
    The semester-long HECUA programs usually count as 200 restricted hours toward the Scholars Program's 400 required hours. This is true of all full-time Twin Cities HECUA programs: Art for Social Change, Writing for Social Change, Inequality in America, and Environmental Sustainability. (These hours are unlimited if you've already completed 8 service-learning credits). Full-Time HECUA participants also earn 6 to 8 credits of service-learning.
  4. Can I count hours I do over the summer at an organization in my hometown?
    Yes. Use the same process you would use for hours you complete in the Twin Cities.
  5. If I volunteer abroad, will those hours count?
    Yes. The requirements and guidelines are the same for work done abroad and work done in the Twin Cities. Your hours must be done through a nonprofit, community-based organization that meets a community need. You must complete at least 20 hours with the organization.
  6. Will work done through a religious group count toward my hours?
    Work done through a faith-based organization must meet the needs of the broader community outside of the religious group. (For example, you could organize a weekly free community meal). Participating in religious education or worship does not count toward the Scholars program.
  7. If I receive a small stipend for my work, do the hours still count as restricted?
    If you are paid less than minimum wage, you can count your hours as unlimited. Note that if you receive a stipend or scholarship to cover the costs of doing the community work, the stipend or scholarship should not be factored into your pay. If you need help figuring this out, feel free to ask the Scholars Program staff.
  8. When counting my community engagement hours, can I include a research project I do on campus?
    Yes, but only if the research has a direct link to a community organization, and if the organization is helping to oversee or direct your research.
  9. Can the work I do for my student group count as community engagement hours?
    Generally, work you do for a student group does not count toward community engagement hours. However, if the work is done off-campus and it meets a community need, it might count. Feel free to ask a Scholars Program adviser for guidance.