Report Urges New Service Learning Programs

September 17, 2015

American colleges should expand opportunities for their students to participate in national service programs, the Center for American Progress recommended in a paper released Wednesday. The paper, "Credit for Serving," envisions yearlong service programs integrated into the college’s existing degree plans. Students would work 20 to 30 hours a week at a nonprofit organization, for example, related to their field of study alongside about five hours of weekly course work. The programs should be for credit and structured so participants are eligible for financial aid, the paper says, so low-income students can participate and benefit.

“Given the importance of service learning, colleges cannot keep treating service as merely an extracurricular add-on,” the paper says. “Students from all income backgrounds would benefit from receiving college credit, so they do not have to choose between service and taking longer to graduate.”

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