For Immediate Release
May 8, 2018
Los Angeles – Today, former California Assembly Speaker and 41st Mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa unveiled an innovative college affordability plan that would help students pay for up to two years of college in exchange for up to two years of full-time service to their community.
“The California Dream Corps does more than reduce the cost of college, it teaches from day one that we share a common purpose as a state, and we need to unite to move forward,” said Mayor Villaraigosa.
“There’s no way around it: college is out of reach for too many families, that’s why as Governor, I will propose a new California Dream Corps that would offer students a year of free state college or university in exchange for a year of community service,” added Mayor Villaraigosa. “Studies show that college graduates go on to earn an average of $1 million more in their lifetimes and sending more young people to college is vital to growing our economy.”
The California Dream Corps would build on the foundation of successful service programs such as AmeriCorps and the California Conservation Corps.
Right now, the very successful California Conservation Corps only accepts 1,500 applicants per year. And the focus of much of the training is on skills that do not require a college degree. Mayor Villaraigosa proposes to expand on this proven program.
Specifically, after completion of a year of service, any California student between the ages of 18 – 25, would be eligible for financial aid to cover 100% of tuition and books at a public college or university. After receiving federal financial aid and scholarships, additional grants from the California Dream Corps Fund would be available to make up the difference. Because tuition costs are only one of the barriers to affordable college, Villaraigosa’s plan also address the cost of books and living expenses.
“As Mayor of Los Angeles, I made it a priority to bring people together for community service, I convened citywide Days of Service, where people volunteered in their neighborhoods. We showed the power of uniting communities in common purpose,” Villaraigosa said.
With the California Dream Corps, more Californians will have the opportunity to attend college. And we will all benefit from a renewed sense of common purpose, driven by the energy and enthusiasm of young people giving back to their communities.