NYTimes: California Begins Service Program for College Students

By Soumya Karlamangla, New York Times
December 20, 2022

Students receive $10,000 from the state to pay tuition and living expenses in exchange for 450 hours of community service work.

Of the hundreds of laws signed and initiatives overseen by Gov. Gavin Newsom while in office, a new state program is the one that he’s “probably more proud” of than anything else.

The California College Corps, a state program that began this year, selects low-income college students to complete community service in exchange for $10,000 to spend on tuition and living expenses. The aim is to help students reduce their debt, while empowering civic action and addressing problems in the state, including education gaps, food insecurity and climate change.

“Instead of working at a restaurant or a cafe, now you’re going to have the chance to tutor, mentor, take climate action, go to food banks and do other important work,” California’s chief service officer, Josh Fryday, told me. “We really think this is an exciting and unique model, and it’s a model that we hope gets emulated by other states and around the country.”

The four-year program is funded by approximately $300 million in state money, and about 13,000 students are expected to enroll through 2026.

To select the first class of students this fall, the state partnered with 46 California college campuses, including U.C. Berkeley, Fresno City College and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, for help in choosing students who could most benefit. The inaugural class of 3,200 was sworn in at a ceremony in Sacramento in October.

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