- California’s College Corps was conceived as a domestic Peace Corps or “California GI Bill,” and is designed to help students pay for college while facilitating community service.
- Sixty-eight percent of College Corps fellows are low income, in a state where the average student loan debt is roughly $37,000.
- The College Corps program costs about $155 million a year, and most of that money comes from the state budget.
DAVIS, Calif. – Only streetlights cut the darkness as University of California, Davis student Malik Vega-Tatum climbed into his car on a Wednesday morning in January. After arriving at La Tourangelle Community Garden in Woodland 20 minutes later, he got right to work, using a hoe to tend frost-kissed rows.
Since the school year began, Vega-Tatum has given hundreds of hours of his time to Yolo Farm to Fork, a nonprofit that supports school gardens and farm-based education. In exchange, he will receive $700 a month for 10 months from the #CaliforniansForAll College Corps program, class credit and experience with food production science. When he reaches the 450-hour mark, he’ll get a $3,000 award. He’ll graduate with $10,000 less debt and with work experience he hopes will give him an edge when he applies to medical school next year.