California College Corps Offers Students $10,000 for Public Service

A new program aimed at civic-minded college students will pay them $10,000 toward their tuition for 450 hours of public service work, Governor Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday.

Beginning with the fall 2022 semester, the “Californians for All College Corps” will start paying out the funds and giving course credits to 6,500 students who will perform part-time work in understaffed fields like K-12 education, climate change, and food disparity, while keeping up their classwork.

So far, 45 California colleges and universities are set to take part, including seven of the 10 University of California campuses (UC Berkeley and UCLA are onboard), as well as 16 of the 23 California State University schools, and more than two dozen community and private colleges. As the Associated Press reports, the $146 million cost was approved as part of last year’s state budget.

College Corps chief Josh Fryday says the initiative was inspired by national service programs that help participants pay for college, such as AmeriCorps and the GI Bill.

The program’s website lays out a competitive application process for interested scholars. It also states that enlisting lower income applicants and “dreamers”—students whose parents brought them to the U.S. illegally—are a priority. A state law makes non-citizens eligible for in-state tuition if they graduate from a California high school and meet other criteria.

“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.

Newsom added that he hopes the spirit of public service and working toward common causes will help to unite people in these hyper-fractious times.

“We’ve lost a connection to others. This is about forming stronger connections,” he said. “If I could decide the future of this country I would demand that all of us have some compulsory service and shared experiences.”

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California College Corps Offers Students $10,000 for Public Service