United States Code

USC most recently checked for updates: Jun 07, 2023

§ 12501.
Findings and purpose
The Congress finds the following:
Throughout the United States, there are pressing unmet human, educational, environmental, and public safety needs.
Americans desire to affirm common responsibilities and shared values, and join together in positive experiences, that transcend race, religion, gender, age, disability, region, income, and education.
The rising costs of postsecondary education are putting higher education out of reach for an increasing number of citizens.
Americans of all ages can improve their communities and become better citizens through service to the United States.
Nonprofit organizations, local governments, States, and the Federal Government are already supporting a wide variety of national service programs that deliver needed services in a cost-effective manner.
Residents of low-income communities, especially youth and young adults, can be empowered through their service, and can help provide future community leadership.
It is the purpose of this chapter to—
meet the unmet human, educational, environmental, and public safety needs of the United States, without displacing existing workers;
renew the ethic of civic responsibility and the spirit of community and service throughout the varied and diverse communities of the United States;
expand educational opportunity by rewarding individuals who participate in national service with an increased ability to pursue higher education or job training;
reinvent government to eliminate duplication, support locally established initiatives, require measurable goals for performance, and offer flexibility in meeting those goals;
expand and strengthen existing national service programs with demonstrated experience in providing structured service opportunities with visible benefits to the participants and community;
build on the existing organizational service infrastructure of Federal, State, and local programs, agencies, and communities to expand full-time and part-time service opportunities for all citizens;
provide tangible benefits to the communities in which national service is performed;
expand and strengthen service-learning programs through year-round opportunities, including opportunities during the summer months, to improve the education of children and youth and to maximize the benefits of national and community service, in order to renew the ethic of civic responsibility and the spirit of community for children and youth throughout the United States;
assist in coordinating and strengthening Federal and other service opportunities, including opportunities for participation in emergency and disaster preparedness, relief, and recovery;
increase service opportunities for the Nation’s retiring professionals, including such opportunities for those retiring from the science, technical, engineering, and mathematics professions, to improve the education of the Nation’s youth and keep America competitive in the global knowledge economy, and to further utilize the experience, knowledge, and skills of older individuals;
encourage the continued service of the alumni of the national service programs, including service in times of national need;
encourage individuals age 55 or older to partake of service opportunities;
focus national service on the areas of national need such service has the capacity to address, such as improving education, increasing energy conservation, improving the health status of economically disadvantaged individuals, and improving economic opportunity for economically disadvantaged individuals;
recognize and increase the impact of social entrepreneurs and other nonprofit community organizations in addressing national and local challenges;
increase public and private investment in nonprofit community organizations that are effectively addressing national and local challenges and encourage such organizations to replicate and expand successful initiatives;
leverage Federal investments to increase State, local, business, and philanthropic resources to address national and local challenges;
support institutions of higher education that engage students in community service activities and provide high-quality service-learning opportunities; and
recognize the expertise veterans can offer to national service programs, expand the participation of the veterans in the national service programs, and assist the families of veterans and members of the Armed Forces on active duty.
(Pub. L. 101–610, § 2, Nov. 16, 1990, 104 Stat. 3129; Pub. L. 103–82, § 2(a), Sept. 21, 1993, 107 Stat. 787; Pub. L. 111–13, title I, § 1101, Apr. 21, 2009, 123 Stat. 1463.)
cite as: 42 USC 12501