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California program offers $10K in tuition assistance in exchange for community service

Gov. Gavin Newsom
Posted at 10:11 AM, Jan 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-20 12:11:34-05

California's governor on Wednesday announced the state was expanding a program that provides tuition assistance to students who take part in community service work during their time in college.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said that the assistance would be offered to 6,500 students attending 45 eligible colleges in the state beginning in the fall of 2022. Those selected will be eligible for $10,000 in tuition assistance if they complete 450 hours of community service in a single year, which works out to about eight-and-a-half hours a week.

Some of the state's most prestigious institutions, including seven of the 10 University of California campuses, are participating in the program. Students at participating colleges can earn tuition assistance by volunteering at numerous organizations, including those focused on education and organizations fighting food scarcity and climate change.

"California is a world leader in both higher education and service," Newsom said in a statement. "The #CaliforniansForAll College Corps advances these priorities by connecting Californians of different backgrounds with enriching service opportunities throughout the state while making college more affordable for our state's future leaders. We hope the Corps will be replicated across the nation."

The program's website says it will first focus on admitting low-income students and "dreamers" — undocumented citizens brought into the country by immigrant parents when they were children. According to The Associated Press, dreamers are eligible for the assistance because of a state law "that allows non-citizens to access in-state tuition if they graduated from a California high school and meet other criteria."

"Today is a historic day in California. The Governor, alongside the leaders of the world's top higher education systems, offered a monumental proposal to the next generation of Californians— if you step up to serve your community, we'll help you pay for college," said Josh Fryday, California's chief service officer.