The M3C Fellows AmeriCorps Program is a scholarship program to support cohorts of predominantly low-income and/or first generation, first year college students who have demonstrated academic abilities while maintaining involvement and passion for community building through service and civic engagement activities.
The Office of Student Volunteer Services & Civic Engagement received funding from Midwest Campus Compact and AmeriCorps for the M3C Fellows Program in Fall 2005, and based on the success of our program, we have continued to receive funding through Spring 2008. We have been able to provide nine students that meet eligibility criteria the opportunity to participate in this program. The program offers students expanded civic engagement and volunteer opportunities, while simultaneously providing the opportunity to expand the fellows' leadership and professional skills.
Students are asked to complete 300 service hours through the M3C Fellow AmeriCorps Program either on campus or in the local community over a 12-month period. At the completion of their volunteer service, students will be eligible for a $1,000 Education Award at UIS.
The M3C Fellows AmeriCorps Program is about addressing an underlying need. Postsecondary education is becoming less affordable. In the past four years tuition has increase an average of 45% at public institutions in our nine-state region. As tuition increases, fewer students are able to afford college without incurring debt or diverting time from studies to work. Nearly three of four full time students work while attending school, and more than 60% of these students work 25 or more hours per week. The academic and financial pressure associated with these tuition increases disproportionately impact low-income and first generation college students. Nearly one-half of college students fail to complete undergraduate programs in less than six years. Retention rates are even lower for financially stressed students, and these students are less able to be involved in community service and other forms of civic engagement.
Participation in the M3C AmeriCorps Program gives each individual institution the chance to increase retention rates, and provide much needed possibilities and resources for their students. Each participating campus will have the opportunity to make connections between their institution and the surrounding community, form meaningful connections with their students, and know that they are reaching far and above todayís expectation of what higher education is supposed to offer students.
By becoming an M3C Fellow, you will be participating in an innovative and exciting program that will provide you with rewarding life experiences. You will have the opportunity to use your skills to better serve the needs of the community. By joining, you will become part of a larger, Midwest initiative to institutionalize community activism, not to mention the nation-wide efforts of AmeriCorps. Youíll also receive a $1,000 Education Award that can be used to help pay your tuition, or pay off your student loans!