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Three Central Coast colleges taking part in new state program offering stipends to students for community service

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Cal State University System
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Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is one of three Central Coast colleges taking part in a new California College Corps program, giving low-income students stipends for their educations in exchange for community service.

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Cuesta College, Allan Hancock College among 45 colleges statewide participating in College Corps program.

A new program is going to help low-income college students on the Central Coast financially, while helping the communities they are living in at the same time.

"The Californians For All College Corps (is) a brand new unprecedented historic service and career development program to give students in the State of California the opportunity to earn $10,000 by committing to a year of service," said Josh Fryday, who is California’s Chief Service Officer, and oversees the new College Corps Program.

Participating students will help with K-12 educational, climate action, or food insecurity programs.

In exchange for 450 hours of service, they will receive up to $10,000 which can be used towards school and living expenses. But, they will also get some academic credit for their work, as well as some real-world experience.

45 public and private colleges are taking part in the program statewide. In our region, the list includes Cuesta College, Alan Hancock College, and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.

"It makes additional scholarship money available to students," said Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong. "We know that money is a major factor in discouraging students from beginning college, and a major factor which prevents them from finishing."

Allan Hancock College President Dr. Kevin Walthers says this program will reward some community college students for the types of things they’ve already been doing.

"For our students, debut become a huge barrier for them," said Walthers. "The College Corps program...those students are going to be able to graduate on time, without taking on a lot of debt."

Walthers says this program can be life changing for some low income students:

Fryday says unlike other types of financial aid, this program will be open to dreamers…students who don’t have full citizenship status.

The state’s goal is to enroll 6500 students in the program during its first two years, about the same number as the Peace Corps. The hope is that it will provide both learning and financial support for thousands of students, while at the same time helping with programs, and services for the communities where they are living.