PCC Touts Free Tuition Program as Success, Expands to Second Year

Published : Monday, September 10, 2018 | 5:02 AM

A year in, Pasadena City College officials say their new program to provide local high school graduates with their first year of college tuition for free has been a resounding success.

Both re-enrollment and grade point average statistics are promising for students enrolled through the program, known as PCC Promise, PCC spokesman Alex Boekelheide said.

“Of the 148 that started last fall, 90 percent are enrolled this fall,” he said. “Overall, the students have a 2.9 GPA.”

To qualify for the program, students must graduates from a high school within PCC’s district and enroll at PCC the following fall semester.

“The PCC Promise is growing as the state provides more resources to support it. With the passage of AB 19 and the California state budget, California’s community colleges have access to roughly $40 million to fund promise programs that are designed to encourage student access and reduce barriers to college,” Boekelheide said.

The school has decided to expand the program, allowing some students to continue studying tuition-free for a second year, he said.

“This expansion of the Promise allows students who have earned 30 degree-applicable units to take advantage of a second year of free tuition, provided they meet certain eligibility criteria,” according to Boekelheide.

“With the establishment of the Second Year Promise, PCC is providing additional resources to students who need it most, and motivating them to continue and complete their studies on a quicker timeline, so they can achieve their educational goals,” he added.

Ariana Woodsworth is taking part in the program.

“Last year was our first year starting the program, so I was fortunate enough to be part of it, unlike my brother, who had gone two years prior to me,” she said. “So I got my first year paid for, and that was awesome. So I was saving even more money than I would be going to four years. It was a great program and opportunity.”

She’s studying fashion merchandising.

“It’s just a good opportunity for a lot of kids, especially if it’s already hard for them to afford college,” Woodsworth said. “It’s nice that PCC has that option for people, because books and materials for school, as it is, are already expensive, but then we don’t even have to worry about paying for our classes or tuition to go to school, which is honestly a weight off our shoulders.”

Darcy Brakeman says the PCC Promise program said she was a fan not only of the program but the community college system in general.

“I know other community colleges have been doing this and it’s helping a lot of kids,” she said.

“I think going to community college is a really good idea, especially now because you save a lot of money and I definitely did it so that I wouldn’t be up to my neck in student loans,” Brakeman added.

More information is available on the PCC website at pasadena.edu.

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