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President Barack Obama on Tuesday signed a $5.7 billion bill that triples the size of the AmeriCorps national service program and expands ways for students and seniors to earn money for college through their volunteer work.

The new law also makes a pitch for mentoring programs, park improvements and working with the poor.

Obama says the law is the boldest expansion of opportunities to serve the country and communities since the creation of AmeriCorps. He says it’s time for a new era of service.

He was joined at the bill signing by Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Edward Kennedy, for whom the bill is named. Also on hand were Vice President Joe Biden, former President Bill Clinton and former first lady Rosalynn Carter.

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