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UCR College Corps earns $5m grant to empower students serving the Riverside community

UCR awarded $5 million grant to support College Corps program that provides debt-free college pathways for low-income students who commit to serving

A UCR College Corps fellow tutors at a local school (Courtesy University of California Riverside).

UCR has received a $5 million grant to support its College Corps program, which provides debt-free college pathways for low-income students who commit to serving.

The grant from the California Volunteers program will allow UCR students to continue serving Riverside in the program's three priority areas: K-6 education, climate action, and food insecurity.

"This is an opportunity for undergraduate students to make a difference in their community, while also gaining professional skills, as well as graduate with less debt," said Jessica Marie Saldivar, program director for UCR College Corps. "Our students support both on-campus or off-campus programs."

Since it began in fall 2022, the program has impacted Riverside's community, with more than 1,600 K-6 students receiving tutoring and 40,000 individuals receiving food through food distribution services. The program also supported fellows in harvesting nearly 40,000 pounds of fruit and vegetables from local farms, and it has planted 101 trees, said Saldivar.

UCR is one of seven colleges and universities in California that participate in the College Corps program, which offers 450 service hours per year and $10,000 in monthly stipends and awards.

Saldivar said the program is proving successful, with one-third of this year's applications coming from returning students.