New program offers service opportunities, college funding

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

A statewide program will help create debt-free college pathways for low-income students who commit to serve

California is connecting service with affordable higher education through the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps.

The program was announced by Gov. Gavin Newsom last week. It’s the largest state-level investment in a college service program in California history. Forty-five colleges and universities were selected as inaugural partners for the program.

Through #CaliforniansForAll College Corps, up to 6,500 college students over two academic years will participate in service opportunities in critical issue areas such as climate action, K-12 education and Covid-19 recovery. Students who complete a year of service will not only gain valuable experience; they’ll also receive $10,000. This program will help young Californians of all backgrounds in service, and specifically creates state-funded opportunities for AB 540-eligible Dreamers to serve their communities.

“California is a world leader in both higher education and service,” Newsom said. “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.”

A number of community colleges are among the participating institutions.

“Community college partnerships selected in this inaugural group of grantees include deploying our students to feed those who rely on our food banks,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley. “I’m heartened to see the governor’s initiative recognizes the value of investing in community college students, who have tremendous gifts to offer through their service and future leadership.”

Sacramento City College and Woodland Community College, for example, are working with University of California, Davis and Sacramento State to recruit and train about 1,000 students (including about 230 AB 540-eligible undocumented students) and match them with internships at community organizations. Internships are scheduled to start in fall 2022.

The consortium will receive up to $16.1 million for this work.

In addition to participants receiving money for service, the consortium will offer a two-credit experiential learning course, professional development support and financial literacy workshops.

“We are thrilled to be a part of this partnership, making college more affordable while simultaneously providing opportunities for our low-income and undocumented students to be hands-on in building up communities across our region. We have a bright future ahead as we make space for students to serve the community while reducing the financial burden of reaching their educational goals,” Sacramento City College President Michael Gutierrez said in a release.


AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.