College volunteer rate up

The number of college students who volunteer has grown sharply over the past four years, due in large part to Sept. 11, a new study says.

The report, “College Students Helping America,” was released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency that manages AmeriCorps and other service programs.

About 3.3 million students, or one in three, volunteered their time in 2005, up about 20 percent from 2002, a growth rate that is more than double that for adults over the same period.

Much of that growth was driven by students who were in high school or entering college when the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks occurred, and who witnessed the acts of firefighters, police and others in the wake of the disaster.

Tutoring and mentoring are the most popular volunteer activities among colleges students, the study says, with four in 10 black students choosing mentoring, compared to slightly more than two in 10 white students.

Female students volunteer at a higher rate than do male students, and whites outpace students from other ethnic backgrounds.

Those who work from one to 10 hours a week volunteer at higher rates than do students who don’t work, the study says, but as work hours increase, the rate of volunteer rate falls dramatically.

While college students are more likely than the general population to volunteer only occasionally, almost half are regular volunteers.

The Corporation for National and Community service is calling for an additional five million college students to become volunteers by 2010.

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