The California College Corps program began last year, selecting low-income college students to engage in 450 hours of community service (approximately 15 hours/week) in return for $10,000 they can 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,” according to The New York Times. An inaugural class of 3,200 – made up of over 500 California Dream Act students, mostly first-generation students and more than 80 percent students of color – was sworn in last October and approximately 13,000 students are expected to enroll through 2026.
“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 the paper. “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.”
California Governor Gavin Newsom said during the swearing-in ceremony that he hoped engaging in community service would help students find their purpose to guide them through their professional and personal lives. “Honestly there’s nothing that enlivens me more than the fact that you’re on your journey to figure it out,” he told participants.
Learn more about the program here.