SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Starting this fall, thousands of college students across California could get funds for living expenses and other financial perks in return for volunteer work.
It’s part of an effort between university leaders and the state to help some students graduate with less debt.
“We’re here making it clear in California. Like the GI Bill, if you’re willing to serve the community and give back in a meaningful way, we are going to help you pay for college,” California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday said.
The program, called College Corps, will provide $10,000 for selected students, including living expenses, education awards and academic credit. Students would need to complete 450 hours of volunteer work in an academic year.
According to the California volunteers website, 45 colleges are participating. That volunteer work would be coordinated through the college the applying student attends and must focus on three key areas: climate change, K-12 education and food insecurity.
Officials said the program is expected to provide help to up to 6,500 students over the next two years — Undocumented students are also eligible.
“It will provide training for the next generation of civic-minded leaders in California, including dreamers, whose contributions and perspectives enrich our state and campuses every day,” UC president Michael V. Drake said.
Higher education leaders, including those of the University of California and California State University systems, officially launched the program Tuesday alongside Governor Gavin Newsom.
Funds for the program come from earmarked money totaling $146 million in the state budget passed last year to help California students and communities.
“If this thing works, we can go back to the legislature and take it to a whole other level. Hell, we could take it to the rest of the country because nobody else is doing this,” Newsom said.
Officials said the students at the participating colleges should be able to apply this spring.