Voluntary Public Service Requirement Leniency

The Foundation lifts restrictions of direct vs. indirect service requirements for the foreseeable future


We understand that this is a trying time for participants and their families, especially when it comes to completing Voluntary Public Service activities while quarantined. The Foundation wants to ensure that we are supporting youth and providing avenues for success in our program during this unprecedented time.

Our current guidelines require that at least 75% of Voluntary Public Service activities be direct service hours in which participants are interacting with and providing a direct service to the community they are serving. No more than 25% of Voluntary Public Service should be indirect service like planning, training, fundraising, etc.

However, given the current circumstances of COVID-19 and in order to ensure the safety of participants, The Congressional Award will lift the restrictions of direct vs. indirect service requirements for the foreseeable future, enabling participants to complete their activities from their homes.

We encourage participants to change or adjust their goals to conform to social distancing/stay at home practices and advise that participants discuss these challenges and how they overcame them on their Record Book submissions.

Additionally, our team has been working to identify new and creative ways that participants might be able to complete Voluntary Public Service hours in the age of coronavirus.

The following are projects worth considering:

  • Meeting immediate needs: Making and/or securing PPE (personal protective equipment) like masks, face shields, isolation gowns, disposable gloves to be donated to health workers.
  • Volunteering remotely for non-profit organizations
  • Assisting public schools with the implementation of remote learning and/or helping educators with grading/administrative work
  • Virtual tutoring/mentoring
  • Packaging and delivering essential supplies to the elderly or home-bound or to students who rely on meals from their schools
  • Organizing digital fundraisers for non-profits or crisis response groups
  • Writing letters to those serving in the armed forces abroad, children in medical isolation, or persons under quarantine
  • Making articles of clothing for hospital patients
  • Donating blood the safe way
  • Making signs and writing thank you notes for first responders, hospital staff, and medical workers.

Safety is paramount. Participants should remember to always protect themselves and follow recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state/local officials when setting their goals.

Find additional tools and tips for completing The Congressional Award from home here.

Our team remains a resource as we all navigate this ever-evolving situation. Participants that want feedback on their service ideas should contact their program manager.

$25.00 Registration Fee Takes Effect January 1, 2020

The participant registration fee will increase from $15.00 USD to $25.00 USD for all new enrollees. This new policy will take effect on January 1, 2020.


Participants that have already registered are in no way affected by the fee increase. Those that register online prior to 12:00 a.m. ET on January 1, 2020 will continue to pay the one-time $15.00 USD registration fee.

The registration fee will be used to offset increased program and administrative costs associated with the day-to-day business of the organization – including new program materials and postage. As The Congressional Award is completely privately funded, the fee increase will help maintain the quality of the program from initial registration through the Gold Medal level for every youth.

As always, The Congressional Award Foundation strives to maintain a low cost for all young people participating in the program. The last change in the fee structure was in January 2011 when the registration fee increased from $10.00 USD to $15.00 USD per participant.

It is important to note that the registration fee is not designed to prohibit or deter new participants from enrolling in the program. Youth that need financial assistance should contact the National Office at (202) 226-0130 or information@congressionalaward.org.