College Corps: The California program allows college students to give back to the community and graduate with less debt

LOS ANGELES (KABC) — College students statewide can now enroll in a paid service program called the College Corps.

College Corpse is a statewide program that provides jobs for underserved college students, helping them graduate with less debt while doing jobs that help the community.

“I like to refer to the College Corps program, we call it the California GI Bill, because what we’re really saying to a new generation of Californians is, ‘If you’re willing to serve your community, if you’re willing to make a difference , then we’ll help you pay for college,'” explains Josh Fryday, director of California Volunteers.

College Corps is the largest state-level investment in a college service program in California history, providing students like Jimena Torres, a Cal State LA senior, with up to $10,000 for services completed during the college year.

Her work at the Cal State LA Food Pantry also provides hands-on experience for her sociology degree.

“Actually, working there helps me see how this resource is helping students,” Torres said. “There are many students who don’t eat a meal at the end of the day, and I find it really rewarding to see these students use this resource on a weekly basis.”

Corps Fellows can work with people affected by food insecurity, but also in other critical areas such as climate change or mentoring and mentoring for low-income students.

It is also the first opportunity for Dream Act students to earn college grants through a government aid program.

Program Fellow and Cal State LA Senior Alexandra Corena says, “It creates a sense of community and you have students around you who are similar to you because I’m a Dreamer student and it brings us together to do something that we do serve our community in different ways, but we still do something.”

Currently, 3,200 students are enrolled in the inaugural program at 45 partnered colleges and universities – students who now have a chance to graduate without the crushing burden of 4 million Californians who owe $147 billion in student debt.

Fryday explains how important this is for a student’s future.

“Graduating debt-free is a game changer, so there are multiple benefits, but we know student debt is crippling our younger generation,” he said. “We know the impact it’s having on the economy, and we simply believe in California that we can help students graduate with less debt while also earning it and making a difference in the community.”

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