Application Opens for Americorps College Paid Scholarship

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Students can still apply to Governor Gavin Newsom’s #CaliforniansForAll College Corps program. Full-time undergraduate students from all majors at Cal Poly, CSU Long Beach, Cuesta College, and Allan Hancock College are encouraged to apply.

The program aims to provide students with service opportunities that address statewide issues, including climate change, food insecurity, and K-12 education. It also aims to alleviate student debt by paying out $10,000 to each student. This includes a stipend of $7,000 and $3,000 at the end of the program.

The program requires students to complete 450 hours of service throughout the 2022-23 academic year in order to receive their academic award.

The program as a whole will accommodate 6,500 students. There are a total of 315 spots waiting to be filled by applicants from the Cal Poly Consortium, which is a group of several companies that will partner with the program to provide this experience. The application holds 165 places for Cal Poly, then 50 for CSU Long Beach, Cuesta College and Allan Hancock College.

“Typically, 20 is a lot of interns and we’re looking to put 350 in the field, so that’s huge,” said Erin Pearse, Cal Poly math professor and director of the Initiative. for climate leadership and resilience.

The program had a “soft deadline” of May 15, by which time they reached 510 applicants who will be given preference. However, Pearse said the program is competitive, so students are still encouraged to apply.

Pearse especially encouraged students who meet AB-540 standards to apply, as there are still four unfilled spots reserved for AB-540 students. AB-540 allows students with immigrant status to pay in-state tuition instead of non-resident tuition at public colleges in California if they meet certain conditions.

Pearse wrote the grant for the program, but said it was not a one-man job. According to Pearse, the Center for Service in Action did the heavy lifting to organize and implement the program, as well as hire staff.

“Ideally, students will be able to walk away with valuable career experience — also a lot less debt,” Pearse said.

Environmental management and protection junior Lilyana Elola says she applied to the College Corps program hoping to help low-income, first-generation students of color through her service.

“I made 42 internship applications – this was the first one that was transparent in the job description and in the financial description,” Elola said.

Elola said she believes in compensating students for the work they do in the field and that is why she applied for this program.

“Climate action and the field of natural resource ecology has always been synonymous with volunteer work,” Elola wrote to Mustang News. “Some companies still believe that young environmental professionals should be happy and willing to work for free/less pay than their other STEM counterparts in the same company.”

Elola said she hopes her passion for climate action education will allow her to participate in the K-12 section of the program so she can elevate environmental literacy in educational settings.

Gabriel Trevino, a junior in environmental management and protection, said he heard about this opportunity by email from the department and decided to apply.

“Climate action and sustainability have been my interests and passions for many years now,” Trevino said. “I have witnessed first hand some of the environmental injustices that occur due to a lack of advocacy for at-risk minorities and immigrant populations.”

Trevino believes the College Corps program will give him the relevant experience he needs to address these issues, while doing tangible work that impacts people who deserve help.

Accepted students will be notified by the end of June, Pearse said.

Students can apply here.

Cal Poly faculty or staff interested in helping recruit students can complete this form.

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