They come from 16 high schools around the Pasadena Area Community College District. They will pursue 41 different majors, from administration of justice to fashion design to television production. They are registered for an average of 14 academic units, earning the status of full-time student and putting themselves on a path toward completing their associate degree within two years.
They are the incoming class of 105 PCC Promise students, and they are ready to get to work.
When it was announced in March, the PCC Promise was heralded as a chance to broaden access to education to young people across PCC's service area. The program offers one year of tuition-free education to students who meet eligibility guidelines.
“Our communities deserve a quality institution that delivers a clear pathway to a better life,” said Ross Selvidge, president of the board of trustees of the Pasadena Area Community College District, when the program was announced. “Research shows that California needs to produce 1.1 million extra college graduates by 2030 in order to keep our economy growing. The PCC Promise helps us do that.”
With students registering for courses for the term that starts August 28, the promise of the Promise is about to be realized. Program guidelines open the agreement to recent graduates of in-district high schools who have tuition costs that remain unmet by state and federal financial aid.
With tuition costs of $46 per unit, the Promise will ensure that each student can use nearly $650 for other expenses this fall, including lodging, transportation, or savings that could have otherwise required them to work while attending school.
“America’s community colleges serve millions of students who otherwise would not receive a college education,” said former PCC President and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott, who is leading an effort by the PCC Foundation to raise funds to endow the PCC Promise in perpetuity. “If we lower the cost barrier, we will drive success in our local economy, our state economy, and our national economy.”
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