College students recruited for community service, chance to earn $10K

·3 min read

May 21—California Chief Service Officer Josh Fryday joined the presidents from several Central Coast colleges at Cal Poly on Thursday to kick off recruiting for one of the state's newest ventures, which gives college students the opportunity to earn money for community service.

The Californians For All College Corps program, which is set to have its first wave of participants in the fall, offers students up to $10,000 for working on climate action, youth tutoring, supporting food banks and other community services.

The financial incentive is designed to supplement other programs, grants and scholarships, like Pell Grants, by issuing $7,000 in living stipends throughout the school year and a $3,000 educational award upon completion of the service time. Another one of the ways that the program is unique is that it is offered to DACA recipients, unlike opportunities such as the Hancock Promise.

"We know that today students are struggling, not just to pay for tuition but for books and food and rent, basic needs. We know that having to take out debt is just exacerbating the racial wealth gap that exists in this country," Fryday said. "With the Californians for All College Corps, students will no longer have to decide between their passion and a paycheck, staying in school or helping your family, launching your career or helping your community."

Cal Poly, Cuesta College and Hancock College are 3 of 48 schools chosen to participate in the program's launch out of more than 400 higher learning institutions throughout the state.

Joining Fryday in the recruiting call was Kevin Walthers, president of Hancock College.

"For our students, debt becomes a huge barrier for them, so our students are not able to take as many classes as they normally would or not able to graduate on time and sometimes have to work," he explained. "The College Corps is going to help students graduate on time without having to take on a lot of debt and continue their education."

For students to be eligible at Hancock, they must be full-time students on campus and commit to participating in the full academic year and complete 450 service hours.

Students must also qualify for a Federal Pell Grant, State Cal Grant or Middle Class Scholarship, need to work or borrow student loans to meet educational costs or be a DACA recipient.

The application deadline for Hancock and Cuesta is June 30, while the deadline for Cal Poly is June 15.

"Not only are our students empowered, they are societal-minded. They want to help their neighbors and pay it forward. Many of us are looking at them and saying,'We aren't even sure what you're paying forward, because we haven't done a good enough job to give you something to pay forward,'" Walthers sais. "We're excited for this kind of a program, and we are going to be a better community for it."

Also joining Fryday and the presidents was Cal Poly student Allison DelGrande who has spent some of her time in San Luis Obispo volunteering to help the homeless population. DelGrande spoke on the benefit that community service can have on the college experience, and encouraged those who qualify to sign up for College Corps.

"Getting involved in service in college allows students the perfect opportunity to connect with their new home and create positive change outside the classroom," DelGrande said. "When life gets hectic with classes, extracurriculars and everything in between, I found service is an incredible way to ground myself."

To learn more about the College Corps program or local opportunities to participate, visit www.cacollegecorps.com.