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California Governor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday, January 18 that 45 colleges and universities in California will be part of a new public service program that will subsidize tuition for students who do community service alongside their studies.

In exchange for 450 hours of service, the California College Corps will give students $10,000 toward their education. They may also earn academic credit for their work. The program called “Californians for All College Corps” will start in the fall 2022 semester with 6,500 students who will be deployed to part-time work in areas of pressing need like K-12 education disparities, climate change and food insecurity, Newsom said in a news conference.

Seven of the 10 University of California campuses will take part in the program in 2022, including UC Berkeley and UCLA, along with 16 of the 23 California State University schools and more than two dozen community and private colleges. The following institutions were selected to create College Corps on their campuses:

  • Butte College
  • Cal Poly Pomona
  • Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
  • College of the Desert
  • College of the Redwoods
  • College of the Siskiyous
  • Compton College
  • Concordia University Irvine
  • Crafton Hills College
  • CSU Bakersfield
  • CSU Chico
  • CSU Dominguez Hills
  • CSU East Bay
  • CSU Long Beach
  • CSU Los Angeles
  • CSU Monterey Bay
  • CSU San Bernardino
  • Cuesta Community College
  • East Los Angeles College
  • Fresno State
  • Fresno City College
  • Glendale Community College
  • Hancock Community College
  • Humboldt State University
  • Irvine Valley College
  • Riverside City College
  • Rio Hondo College
  • Sacramento City College
  • Sacramento State
  • San Bernardino Valley College
  • San Francisco State
  • San Jose State
  • Shasta College
  • Stanislaus State
  • UC Berkeley
  • UC Davis
  • UC Irvine
  • UC Los Angeles
  • UC Merced
  • UC Riverside
  • UC San Diego
  • University of San Diego
  • University of the Pacific
  • Vanguard University
  • Woodland Community College

Students, including undocumented “Dreamers” who qualify for in-state tuition, can volunteer in critical issue areas such as climate action, K-12 education, and Covid-19 recovery for one year through the program. The service work students do could also include tutoring younger students and helping at food banks. For example, participating students from the University of the Pacific will tutor students in Stockton, where literacy rates and math scores are low, Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities President Kristen Soares said. “It will make a difference for students, and most importantly it will make college more affordable for those who need support the most.”

The California College Corps takes its inspiration from national service programs that have helped participants pay for education, like AmeriCorps and the GI bill, said Josh Fryday, Chief Service Officer and head of the new program. “We are making it clear here in California, like the GI 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,” Fryday said.

University of California President Michael V. Drake praised the program as a way to help thousands of students pay for college and reduce debt. “California is and always should be a place where education turns dreams into reality, where people from all backgrounds and walks of life can succeed. Where we use our talents to make the world a better place,” Drake said. Allowing “dreamers” to be eligible for the program is “very, very important,” said California State University Chancellor Joseph I. Castro.

“California is a world leader in both higher education and service,” said Governor Newsom. “The Californian 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.”

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Eric Bennett has over three decades experience in higher education managing recruitment and marketing, financial aid, and student development at three universities from Georgia to California to New York City. Eric recently put his experience to use launching Bennett Collaborative, a small business that creates content for brands with purpose. With his reputation for being an effective communicator, Eric writes for all kinds of industries from finance and college savings to education and disability services. Visit BennettCollaborative.com for more information.