Serving with a Purpose. Evaluating Practical Options to Increase College Accessibility through National Service
Calkins, Robert A.
MetadataShow full item record
The provision of educational benefits in exchange for national service has long been considered one of the best ways to increase college financial accessibility. Such a program is especially attractive because of its non-incidental benefit of engaging youth service to their national and international communities. There are many government programs that offer an educational benefit in exchange for service, but these programs are limited to certain sectors, such as health care or education. Using the Forever GI Bill as a comparative tool for benefits, the national service program proposed here would provide participants with full college tuition for four years at an in-state public university as well as an annual stipend for books and supplies. Program participants would volunteer to serve in AmeriCorps or Peace Corps for a period of three years to receive the full educational benefit through the program. The proposed national service program is found to have an individual cost benefit of 1:2.06 and a social cost benefit of 1:2.39. Individual benefits include increased earnings, a volunteer living allowance while in service, and student loan and interest savings, whereas individual costs are losses in earnings both during service and while attending college. Social benefits include increased earnings and federal tax revenue, a volunteer living allowance while in service, direct service benefits in AmeriCorps-served communities, and student loan and interest savings, whereas social costs include the cost of administering programs, college capital and operating costs, and losses in earning both during service and while attending college. After incurring debt in the first decade on the program, this national service program model is self-sustainable and eventually contributes to additional tax revenue to the federal government.
- MA in Policy Studies