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Financial aid for local college students in exchange for community service

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Posted at 6:05 AM, Apr 22, 2022

The application period is open for the Fellowship for Californians for All College Corps until May 15th. Both interested applicants and organizations can apply at this website.

Dr. Erin Pearse, a Mathematics Professor and Grant Writer for the fellowship at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, told KSBY: “The fellowship provides $10,000 to the student in exchange for 450 hours of service work completed at a nonprofit or government agency, focusing their work on climate action or K-12 education or food insecurity.”

Fellows would be paid through a stipend via financial aid.

Bradley Kyker, the College Corps Principal Investigator at Cal Poly said: "The reason that we're really excited about this is that it is going to be disbursed through financial aid, not as in payroll. Therefore, we can recruit AB540, or what we’ve vernacularly called Dreamer students so that it gets around any kind of work, eligibility issues, or challenges.”

Kyker added: "We are quite certain that our Financial Aid office here at Cal Poly and the CSU Chancellor’s Office will likely want some kind of verification of applicant financial need to occur. Just how that will take shape and form remains to be seen, but please rest assured that it will be in place.”

Cal Poly is part of a consortium of schools that includes Allan Hancock and Cuesta Colleges, as well as California State University, Long Beach.

“The spirit of the grant is that we want to help folks who otherwise wouldn’t have access to higher education,” said Kyker.

To apply, a person must be a student at one of the participating schools and be seeking part-time work to make it through the school year.

“The Cal Poly Consortium is going to be putting about 315 fellows out there, which is massive. I mean, 20 is a large program, so 300 is just immense,” explained Dr. Pearse.

Both students and organizations can participate in the fellowship, which is part of a larger initiative created by the Governor of California. The grant is administered by the program, California Volunteers.

Organizations can apply to participate as community hosts as well.

“They need to be a nonprofit or a government agency. And so nonprofit is 501c3 or 501c for as long as they do not engage in lobbying. So one of the restrictions on the activities is that they cannot be involved in anything political, not even voter registration,” said Dr. Pearse.