The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star

The Student News Site of Sonoma State University

Sonoma State Star


California program offers tuition assistance

Seth Baldwin, Staff Writer February 19, 2020

In the world of college students across the nation, with a variety of differing experiences, the common thread that runs between most is piling student debt. There are ways out of the steep debts with the help of financial aid, scholarships, and grants. However, there are students that do not qualify for aid or scholarship and still see their debt continue on a never-ending build up before they can even begin to pay it off.

As of Feb. 10, the State of California called for a new program that is designated for students to earn up to $10,000 in tuition assistance in return for semester-long public services assignments. The new program, titled the Civic Action Fellowship (CAF), is set to impact universities state-wide. California is the first and only state (so far) with a program that incentivizes college students to engage in public service for $10,000 toward their higher education. Thus far eight universities are participating in the program.

According to the Governor of California’s press release, “Current undergraduate and graduate students will sign up as AmeriCorps Fellows and commit to serve their communities as they tackle local and regional community challenges.” The governor’s office continues, “The service will be tailored toward student’s academic curriculum while encouraging four-year completion, graduate school, job placement and an engrained commitment to civic engagement.”

The CAF program has a volunteer application for AmeriCorps at to help students get involved. Some of the links include grant description, application deadlines, frequently asked questions (FAQs), and the application documents themselves. The website also includes a checklist of eligibility for potential applicants of the program.

Former Novato Councilman Josh Fryday was said to be the originator of the idea for the CAF and has since been named the Chief Service Officer of California per Marin Independent Journal. Fryday described the program as part of the governor’s new vision to bring Californians together in serving the state. “This program allows us to help students pay for college, serve and lift up communities and shape a whole generation of young people committed to civic engagement and giving back,” said Fryday.

According to the Marin Independent Journal, the recent program promised to allocate $1.24 million in federal AmeriCorps funds as well as $1.96 million in state money with additional help coming from participating universities in the form of $677,000.

“This program allows us to put resources behind something that we think is deeply important,” Dominican President Mary Marcy said, “which is service-learning and civic engagement. I think we have a responsibility to give back and to engage with our community and make it a better place. Civic engagement is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end and the end is a stronger democracy.” Dominican University is one of the Bay Area schools participating in the pilot program along with the University of California Berkeley and San Jose State University.

The Turlock Journal states that UC Merced interim Chancellor Nathan Brostrom decided that opportunities provided by the CAF program will be an “invaluable experience and lessening their [Merced students’] student loan debt...We are proud to be a part of this effort.”


John Hopkins University ends legacy admissions

Seth Baldwin, Staff Writer February 12, 2020

The private research university in Baltimore, John Hopkins University, recently elected to eliminate admissions based on legacy preference as of 2014 to allow a more fair selection process to all students.

John Hopkins parted ways with a popular college admission method that allowed relatives of alumni to enroll with priority over other students. The change is meant to give talented students an equal chance at being selected to attend the prestigious school.

The Washington Post reported that there have been no major outcries or steep declines in alumni giving as a result of the news, and John Hopkins benefited from an increase in achievement. 10 years ago, when John Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels began his career at the university, he said, “I never became reconciled to the prevalence of this form of hereditary privilege in American higher education, particularly given this country’s deeply ingrained commitment to the ideals of merit and equal opportunity.”

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