How PCC Will Be Affected By Gov. Brown’s Decision to Cover First Year Students’ Community College Tuition

Published : Thursday, October 26, 2017 | 5:53 AM

"PCC Students"

Even before Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill in which the state covers the cost of tuition for first-year community college students, Pasadena City College had already begun offering free tuition for students living in the Pasadena area for their first year of college.

Assembly Bill 19 was signed by Brown earlier this month and covers the fees for California community college first-year students beginning Jan. 1. However, college districts throughout the state already have been raising money for their own programs to fund the first year of school for students, including PCC.

Alexander Boekelheide, Strategic Director of Communications and Marketing at PCC, said the college’s free tuition first-year program, PCC Promise, went live this fall. Under the plan, any student who graduates from a high school within PCC’s district and enrolls the fall semester after graduation will qualify.

To be eligible, students must have earned a high school diploma or equivalent from any public or private high school within the Pasadena Area Community College district. They must also first apply for financial aid, maintain a 2.0 GPA at PCC, and enroll in at least nine units per semester at PCC to remain within the program.

Students who enter military service immediately following high school will be eligible if they enroll at PCC the first semester after completing service.

Even with a similar program existing, Boekelheide said they are thrilled with Gov. Brown’s having signed the statewide free tuition first-year program.

“The fact that this idea started in the districts and is now being taken up at the state level shows that there’s momentum behind this movement,” Boekelheide said. “And that there are so many people willing to take on this cause. Clearly, people understand making college affordable and accessible is a good move for the state’s economy and for the future of if not the state, then the country.”

What needs to be done, he said, is to iron out details between how the state program will merge with the local programs, like PCC’s Promise program.

“I think it’s going to be interesting how we go from here,” Boekelheide said. “There’s now interest in the state level for providing some services, and clearly they’re still interested at the local level for doing the same. So, we want to find out how to balance these efforts and make sure we’re doing well by our students.”

For more, see https://pasadena.edu/student-services/pcc-promise/index.php

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