Alternatives to Military Service

College Funding and Educational Resources


AmeriCorps is a network of local, state, and national service programs that connects more than 70,000 Americans each year in intensive service to meet our country�s critical needs in education, public safety, health, and the environment. In exchange for working in commutities, AmeriCorps gives participants a $4,725 college award for a year of full-time service, and is prorated for part-time.


A free internet-based resource for locating scholarships.

Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA)

A federal Department of Education application process for obtaining free college aid. This is absolutely essential for students seeking money for college.

Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center

The Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center, located in Grand Rapids, offers assistance for those wishing to obtain a GED or high school diploma as well as literacy training. Open to low-income youth ages 16-24 and provides a monthly living allowance and support to students for up to 12 months after graduation from the program.

Grand Rapids Adult and Community Education

The Grand Rapids Public Schools (GRPS) offer English as a second language (ESL), general educational development (GED), high school completion, and pre-GED courses to the community.

Michigan Student Financial Aid

A website maintained by Michigan’s Student Financial Services Bureau help citizens find financial resources and information for post-high school education.

Perkins Student Loan

A Federal Perkins Loan is a low-interest (5%) loan for undergraduate and graduate students with �exceptional� financial need. The U.S. Department of Education (ED) provides a programmed amount of funding to the school. In turn, the school determines which students have the greatest need. The school combines federal funds with some of its own funds for loans to qualifying students. To apply for this loan program, students must complete the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid).

Scholarships from the Grand Rapids Community Foundation

The Grand Rapids Community Foundation awards over $500,000 in scholarships each year. Scholarships vary from merit to needs-based.

Stafford Student Loan

The Stafford loan is a long-term, low-interest loan designed to provide students with funds to help pay for their education. Application is made through the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FASFA).

Student Guide to Financial Aid

A yearly guide put together by the Department of Education that is available both online and in print format.

Upward Bound at Grand Rapids Community College

Upward Bound is an educational, pre-college preparation opportunity for low-income and first-generation college students. Students will build academic skills that will help in successfully pursuing post-secondary education or training. The program is free to those who qualify.

Upward Bound at Grand Valley State University

Upward Bound prepares low-income and/or first-generation college-bound students in grades nine through twelve for success in high school and enrollment in college. Once accepted, an Upward Bound student can participate until graduation from high school. All services are provided at no cost to participants. The Upward Bound Program provides academic instruction, tutoring, counseling, and cultural activities designed to build the academic skills, motivation, and self-confidence necessary for success in college. The program also offers assistance in the search for financial aid as well as support in completing the college admissions process.

Job Training

Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center

The Gerald R. Ford Job Corps Center, located in Grand Rapids, offers vocational and career training in business technology, carpentry, culinary arts, facilities maintenance, health occupations, and security. Open to low-income youth ages 16-24 and provides a monthly living allowance and support to students for up to 12 months after graduation from the program.

Goodwill Grand Rapids

Goodwill offers training in the retail, janitorial, light industrial, and hospitality fields in addition to Certified Nurse Aide (CNA) training.

GRCC Job Training

Grand Rapids Community College offers a variety of job training programs for automotive, computer support, computer applications, construction, machinist technician, and welding. Financial assistance is available and the GRCC staff will aid people in locating financial resources.

Kent Career Technical Center

The Kent Career Technical Center offers a variety of programs ranging from accounting to wood products manufacturing.

Michigan Career and Technical Institute

The MCTI provides technical training and support services to prepare Michigan residents with disabilities for employment. Programs in automotive technology, business support, cabinet-making, culinary arts, drafting, custodial, electronics, landscaping, health careers, machine technology, printing, and retail marketing.

Michigan Works! – Grand Rapids

Michigan Works! focuses on providing information and resources to enable job seekers to successfully compete in today’s economy and achieve economic security. Job training is available through the Workforce Investment Act.


City Year

City Year unites young people of all backgrounds, ages 17-24, for a demanding year of community service and leadership development in 16 U.S communities and Johannesburg, South Africa.

Outward Bound

Outward Bound is a non-profit educational organization with five core programs (wilderness expeditions, expeditionary learning schools, professional programs, ubran centers, and outreach/discovery) that offer participants the opportunity to travel and “change lives, build teams, and transform schools.”


The PeaceCorps is a federal government program that assigns program participants to perform volunteer service in developing countries around the world.

Volunteer Opportunities on lists a variety of travel oriented volunteer opportunities.