California, select universities launch community-service-based fellowship

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STOCKTON, Calif. (KTXL) -- The state along with several public and private universities is launching the Civic Action Fellowship to help students who commit to a semester or year of community service.

“California is saying clear, if you are willing to serve your community in a meaningful way, we are going to help you pay for college,” Josh Fryday told FOX40.

Fryday is chief service officer of the California Volunteers, which is the group working alongside eight public and private colleges across the state. One of the universities, University of the Pacific, recently launched the new pilot program.

“Really the idea here is to provide financial incentive for students to engage in serious service-learning assignments to really make a difference in their communities,” said Edith Sparks who is the vice provost for undergraduate education at UOP.

Sparks explained that the fellowship will connect students with local organizations to solve the most pressing challenges in the community.

“We elected to focus on healthy futures because we know that health disparities are a really significant challenge in Stockton,” said Sparks.

UOP will award 10 students, a one-time, one-semester housing stipend and scholarship totaling more than $14,000. The amount will vary based on the school.

“For many students, it will mean they can take one less loan to be able to complete their degree at Pacific. So we’re really excited about the impact that this will have for them,” said Sparks.

The community service will be a part of the student’s curriculum to ensure they stay on a four-year track to graduation.

“Our students will be engaged in 36 hours of service a week during the fall semester if they’re selected into the program and they’ll be earning 16 units,” she said.

More than $3 million in state and federal funds will support the Civic Action Fellowship, along with more than $700,000 in scholarships from participating schools.

“It is a win for the state of California, who will benefit from a whole new generation of civically engaged leaders who know what it means to give back,” said Fryday.

Nearly 250 fellows across California will begin their fellowship and community service in the fall. For more information on the fellowship, you can visit their website at californiavolunteers.ca.gov

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