Center for American Progress

RELEASE: CAP Report Proposes New For-Credit Service-Learning Programs at U.S. Colleges
Press Release

RELEASE: CAP Report Proposes New For-Credit Service-Learning Programs at U.S. Colleges

Washington, D.C. — Students who take part in national service opportunities are not simply giving back to their communities—they are also developing critical workforce skills and experiences. In fact, national service is a key component of smart human capital development and can play an important role in encouraging economic growth. The Center for American Progress released a report today proposing colleges create new opportunities for students to earn college credit for long-term service while gaining important career-readiness skills.

The proposal would assist colleges in creating programs that place students in national service for one year of their four-year college experience or one semester of a two-year degree program. The colleges would tailor a student’s service to align with their degree program, and students would take supplemental classes that relate to their majors during their service. The credits for both the service and the supplemental courses would keep students eligible for their federal financial aid and on track to graduate on time. By ensuring federal student aid eligibility and a timely graduation, the proposal makes national service feasible for lower-income students who rely on loans and grants for college.

“Too often intensive national service is out of reach for low-income students who would truly benefit from the work skills and experience of service programs,” said Ben Miller, Senior Director, Postsecondary Education at CAP. “And other students who would like to participate in credit-bearing service opportunities are at colleges that do not offer such programs. This proposal would extend the opportunity for national service—and the personal and community benefits that go along with that—to those who may not have been able to take part otherwise.”

The report details how such programs could be implemented and lays out a vision for how schools can provide service-learning opportunities for students within their communities or while pursuing service in a more distant location. Importantly, it shows how institutions can pay for the upfront costs of creating these programs and how the federal government can play a role in facilitating this process for both colleges and students.

Click here to read the report.

For more information on this topic or to speak with an expert, contact Tom Caiazza at [email protected] or 202.481.7141.