Community Service can Earn you a Degree


It’s no secret that college is expensive, and most people need help in one way or another in order to pay for it, whether it be from family or by taking out student loans. California colleges are particularly expensive, but there is a new form of payment coming to a few select colleges, two of them being fairly close to Skyline College.

Dominican University of California, University of California, Berkeley, and San Jose University are introducing a new program that helps students to pay for tuition by doing community service for eleven months. This program was started by AmeriCorp, which is known for its “community outreach and services aimed at urban cities across America.” AmeriCorp planned this program with the California School Board, and Civil Action Fellowship to be implemented this fall. AmeriCorp plans to will award students up to $10,000 to put toward their college costs in exchange for one semester working with a local nonprofit or government office.

The qualifications for this program is at least a 3.0 GPA and a history of community service, and the issues that will be tackled are food insecurity, environmental education, and homelessness.

Many students are employed in order to pay for college, but that may not be so easy for some of them.

“This program could be very beneficial to those with disorders such as autism or anxiety, or, really, anyone who might have problems holding down or getting a job,” said Skyline student Isabela Gray. “Since this program also involves the arts, anyone with that major should consider joining — It could help them get a head start in their field.”

Most Skyline students have jobs in order to pay for college — one even has to have two. However, most said that they wouldn’t be interested in the program due to the payout being the same as that of their jobs.

One student who was considering it was Isaac Soto.

“I would have to look more into it, but it seems like a nice change of pace from the usual job and school setup,” he said. “It’d nice to be able to help your community and yourself at the same time.”

Keep in mind that this program is the first of its kind, California being the first state to develop this option. This could be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many. If you are a student who enjoys helping others, or want to make a difference in your community, this could be your shot.

This could be especially helpful for those of us living in the Bay Area, where the cost of housing is often outrageously high. If you live in the Bay Area, you know it’s impossible to live off the wages of most part-time jobs.

You don’t have to be a math major to understand that if the average rent is $3,000, and the average state college tuition is $14,000, then a job that pays $16 an hour won’t cut it. But these are the only kind of jobs most college students are able to get. Getting into this program could potentially double a student’s income, and get them through their university without years of debt.

Spread the word about this new program to could benefit anyone planning on going to the aforementioned colleges. After all, if the program goes well and enough people are aware of it, it could be implemented at more colleges, making education more affordable for many others.