Cal Poly, Cuesta and Hancock students eligible for tuition reduction through new service program
The latest estimate from the State of California shows almost four million state residents owe about $150 billion in student loan debt.
Up to 6,500 college students are now eligible to complete a year of service work in their communities in exchange for $10,000 through a new state program called Californians for All College Corps.
Josh Fryday is the Chief Service Officer for the State of California. He said the state developed the program as a way to address the student debt crisis and help alleviate some of the stress that comes with taking out loans.
“Service is a really powerful way to bring us together and do some of the bridging that’s so important in this country," Fryday said. "So we created this College Corps to really bring together Californians while helping them pay for college.”
The College Corps will provide service opportunities for students in areas like climate action, K-12 education and COVID-19 recovery. Fryday said this could mean students participate in things like tutoring or urban greening work.
45 colleges and universities across the state, including Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cuesta College and Allan Hancock College, were selected through an application process to participate in the program.
Fryday said the service program is a 450 hour commitment over the academic year. That equates to about 15 hours of service each week, an amount he said is very intentional, in order to make the program achievable.
“One of the goals that we talked about when we created this program, was to ensure that students, especially low-income students, were able to stay in school and stay on track to graduate on time while they did this program,” Fryday said.
He said students will be paid up to $7,000 incrementally during their work and will receive a $3,000 scholarship upon completion. So if a student cannot complete the year of service for whatever reason, they will still receive some funding for the work they have completed.
Though Fryday said the state hopes students complete the year-long program.
“Because of all the financial incentives and because of all the support we are building around it — the student services — we are actually going to make it easier for students to participate for the full year and for them to be able to stay in school,” Fryday said.
He said the program is set to run for two academic years beginning in the fall of 2022. Fryday said the goal is to expand and continue it as state and federal funding allows.