Legendary journalist Tom Brokaw and Arizona State University President Michael Crow have come up with a concept that deserves your attention. It’s certainly got mine. It’s called the Next Generation Service Corps, and it’s already up and running at Arizona State. Here are insights from Tom and Michael on this great idea.

Young people don’t feel a connection to our institutions. There’s a big disconnect with kids coming out of college. Our country must develop new forms of public service for young people who don’t attend a military academy. That’s what the Next Generation Service Corps addresses.

Can big state universities help get the idea of national service leadership off the ground? The answer is yes. Arizona State enrolled 100 students in the Next Generation Service Corps in year one and another 150 in year two. The target for the next class is 350.

Free college isn’t the answer. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, and the Next Generation Service Corps recognizes that. Corps Members get full four-year scholarships, but once they graduate they spend several years in service to our country.

The biggest problem in higher education isn’t access. It’s completion. More than half the people who have started a college degree in the United States have no degree at all. They never finished. Corps Members are goal-oriented leaders with a mission in mind. It’s not a guarantee of a college degree, but it’s a big step.

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