Community Notes, Featured, Stories

Free Community College Promise Program Begins

June 24, 2016

By Mario A. Cortez image003

The first 201 beneficiaries of the San Diego Promise program have been chosen.

The San Diego Promise program, currently operating as a pilot, will be covering the enrollment costs for beneficiaries and provide book grants as well for the upcoming 2016-17 academic year for select students enrolled at San Diego Community College District (SDCCD) campuses.

The launch of the program was announced this Wednesday at SDCCD’s Mesa College.

Taking the model used by over 100 similar programs throughout the nation, the San Diego Promise program seeks to provide access to higher education to all deserving students and to make sure a lack of resources is not a roadblock in seeking higher education.

Under this program, students receiving federal or state financial aid, but still have financial need will have their enrollment fees paid for. Meanwhile, students who do not receive financial aid but have financial need will have their fees completely paid for. Beneficiaries will also receive $1,000 in grants for textbooks. Students will also receive special mentoring and counseling services prior to the start of the upcoming school year.

Currently, the program counts with an estimated budget of $215,000 in non state funds which will be covering the first year costs of the San Diego Promise program.

“The San Diego Community College District is pleased to be moving forward with this important program,” said SDCCD Chancellor Constance Carroll.  “We are delighted to welcome the first group of students who will be able to attend our colleges free of charge.  This is a real investment in our community.”

The first students participating in the program will be a group of 175 high school graduates from the San Diego Unified School District and 26 SDCCD Continuing Education students. SDCCD received over 300 applications from students were reviewed. Program selection considered financial need, and challenges through the student’s’ high school careers.

“This marks a significant step in the growing partnership between San Diego’s two largest education institutions,” stated San Diego Unified Superintendent Cindy Marten in a press release. “We share a common vision with the San Diego community colleges. Just as we believe no one should have to leave their neighborhood to attend a quality school, the community colleges are committed to the idea that you should not have to leave San Diego to get a world class education.”

Students participating in the program will be required to be enrolled in at least 12 units during both the Fall 2016 and the Spring 2017 semesters, maintain a minimum 2.0 GPA, and participate in eight hours of community service.

SDCCD looks to expand the program for the 2017-2018 school year.

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