California State Governor Gavin Newsom recently announced the new #CaliforniansForAll College Corps program, which helps cover select students' educational costs in exchange for performing volunteer work.
Through College Corps, students attending one of 45 different California-based colleges will get the chance to earn $10,000 by completing 450 hours of community service. Additionally, participants are also eligible to earn academic credit through the program.
The initiative will launch in the fall with up to 6,500 participants, and students specifically must complete their volunteer hours in projects involving K-12 education, food insecurity, or climate action. The schools partaking in the program include community colleges, public 4-year institutions, and private universities. However, some high-profile institutions—such as San Diego State, UC Santa Barbara, and the University of Southern California—are unfortunately not involved in the initiative.
"California is a world leader in both higher education and service," said Newsom. "The #CaliforniansForAll College Corps advances these priorities by connecting Californians of different backgrounds with enriching service opportunities throughout the state while making college more affordable for our state's future leaders. We hope the Corps will be replicated across the nation."
Josh Fryday, the state's Chief Service Officer and head of California Volunteers, addressed how the initiative is similar to the G.I. Bill.
"We are making it clear here in California: [similar to] the G.I. Bill, if you are willing to serve your community and give back in a meaningful way, we are going to help you pay for college," he said.
The #CaliforniansForAll College Corps is a new program to help students who commit to 1yr. of serving their communities pay for college.
— California Volunteers (@CalVolunteers) January 18, 2022
The state is putting about $146 million into College Corps, and all undergrad students attending one of the involved campuses are eligible for the program. It's also worth noting that each individual school is responsible for "lead[ing] their own process for recruiting and selecting students."
"The University of California is pleased to partner with Governor Newsom on this innovative program, which will help thousands of students pay for college while they give back to their communities," added Michael Drake, the University of California President. "Providing more pathways to a debt-free degree while empowering students to pursue service-oriented career paths is a reflection of our shared commitment to access, affordability, and public service."
"The #CaliforniansForAll College Corps creates service opportunities for community college graduates that support our communities while creating career pathways for our graduates," said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, Chancellor of California Community Colleges. "I'm heartened to see the Governor's initiative recognizes the value of investing in community college students, who have tremendous gifts to offer through their service and future leadership."
College Corps is currently in its planning and program development phase, and more information on the initiative is expected to be soon available.