A healthy democracy depends on active and engaged citizenship. One newly launched program will train the next generation of responsible citizens while making college more affordable for thousands of students: California Volunteers’ #CaliforniansForAll College Corps Program.
At the core of the College Corps is service. Similar to the GI bill, the College Corps is an innovative, first-of-its-kind initiative providing college financial assistance to Californians willing to serve their communities. The initiative will be piloted at 45 colleges and universities throughout the state starting this fall.
Some 6,500 college students will commit to serving 450 hours a year for a $10,000 scholarship. This includes undocumented AB 540 eligible Dreamers— the first program of its kind to include this student population. Volunteer activities will encourage regional collaboration and will focus on supporting and learning from K-12 Education, Climate Action, or Food Insecurity organizations.
The scholarship will help thousands of students afford college at a time when it’s needed the most. Nationally, Americans owe a starling $1.73 trillion in student loan debt. Even despite a recent pause on federal student loan interest rates and the Biden administration’s action to cancel $10 billion in federal student loan debt, many Americans find themselves struggling to make monthly payments.
In return for their service, California College Corp fellows will receive:
- $7,000 stipend (living allowance), plus a $3,000 Education Award.
- Academic credit (amount and type to be determined by each partner campus).
- Access to training, networking, and professional development opportunities.
Nearly four million Californians owe $147 billion in student debt. The College Corps program creates unique pathways for students to lessen the financial burden of attaining a degree and connect them to valuable resources and professional development that will help them get jobs when they graduate. Programs like the College Corps not only inspire a new generation of students to serve, it also helps them pay for basic living expenses along the way – and is a model for other states to follow.