By Daniella Molina
California’s college and university systems joined the State of California Governor’s office to launch a historical $146 million investment for higher education called The California For All College Corps program. East Los Angeles College was one of 45 colleges that was selected after a competitive application process.
The program will roll out this fall and is designed to help up to 6,500 students across California pay for college.
The financial assist comes in exchange for students’ commitment to give back to their communities in meaningful ways. Students commit to 450 hours of service work. The services focus on critical issues such as climate action, K-12 education, community health issues, food insecurities and COVID-19 recovery efforts.
Selected volunteer students who complete their first year of service work and education will receive academic credits and $10,000 to cover tuition costs. The program will also provide a $7,000 stipend for living expenses along with a $3,000 education award.
Of the 45 colleges and universities that were selected to participate in the college opportunity program. Cal State LA, ELAC, and Rio Hondo College were the three colleges representing the San Gabriel Valley. Approximately 200 low- to moderate-income students from the San Gabriel Valley area can be chosen to participate in the program. The rest will be selected from partner colleges and universities across the state of California.
This program will introduce California students of all backgrounds and ethnicities to state-funded educational opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds for the first time in history.
Each campus will be responsible for recruiting students from their campus for the application process.
All students who are in good academic standing are welcome to apply. Student dreamers, or undocumented immigrants who were brought to the United States as young children, are also eligible for the program through AB 540. Applications are accepted on a rolling basis through June 15. For best consideration, apply by May 15.
In hopes of building the next generation of community leaders and activists, the program is providing new options and ways to pay for college. New career paths are being carved out to cater to critical issues that underserved communities are currently facing.
There are gaps in the current system. Even with financial aid and Pell grants, millions of students still fall into educational debt. Financial hardships and food insecurities fall back on the students while attending colleges. Some students are forced to choose between books or bread.
However, with the California For All College Corps program, offering financial support will ease some of the burden. Students may be able to focus more on learning while performing and obtaining career related work experience and building leadership skills that can be used within their own communities. This also affords the opportunity for students to graduate on time and with less debt.
The program is similar to the military GI Bill in which, one who is willing to serve can receive assistance with paying for college.
ELAC students who are interested in applying are encouraged to contact a dean in the office of Student Services and/or visit www.californiavolunteers.ca.gov/californiansforall-college-corps/ for further program application information.