SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Governor Newsom announced the 45 California colleges and universities chosen to take part in his "Californians for All" College Corps.
In exchange for volunteer service to help the state's response to emergencies and disasters like COVID, the state will subsidize tuition for participating students.
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Students like Maria Nava carry a heavy burden by taking on loans to pay for college.
"The ones that I have, I certainly would have to get a job like instantly after I graduate," explained Nava who is a college student at San Francisco State University.
But what if part of those loans could be paid off before they graduate? Through a new state program, students would only have to volunteer.
"If you step up to serve your community, we are willing to help you pay for college," announced Josh Fryday, the state's Chief Service Officer.
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It's called Californians For All College Corps. The state is investing $146 million. Here's how it works during an academic year.
"Serving a total of 450 hours over the year as they help tackle critical issues like climate change, educational disparities, COVID -9 recovery and other challenges facing the community," added Fryday who was joined by several UC, CSU and private college leaders on zoom. Governor Gavin Newsom was also on the call.
If one were working full time, 450 hours would translate into a little more than 11 weeks. They would earn $10,000 to pay off loans or other college expenses.
"$10,000, that's a lot of money, that's a big deal. 6,500 people having that opportunity and if this thing works we can go back to the legislature, take it to another level, hell we can take it to the rest of the county 'cause nobody else is doing this," said Newsom.
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The student loan debt crisis seems to affect low income students the most. There's also an argument to be made that those with the greatest financial needs who are strapped with debt will not be able to contribute enough to the economy.
Dreamers will also be able to participate because these are state funds. 45 universities will take part in the program, more will be added later.