Cerritos College announced that they have created Cerritos Complete to expand on the new law that allows for up to two years of free tuition, in a press release early this month.
Cerritos Complete is an official Promise Program that will assist students to achieve their college goals in both access and completion.
The program is currently only partnered with high schools in the surrounding LA County area as well as local adult schools that provide High School equivalency programs (GED). According to the program website, (http://www.cerritos.edu/cerritos-complete/), it will provide the skills and knowledge needed by high school students to succeed in college.
Cerritos Complete offers services to students that include, one-on-one counseling and advisement, personalized class schedules and step by step assistance while in the program for Fall and Spring.
The program may provide free tuition for up to two years, however it falls short on covering out-of-state tuition, books, parking, student health, and student activity fees.
Students that successfully complete all seven steps and meet their deadlines, will be admitted into the Cerritos Complete Program. Once completed, students are required to attend a mandatory class starting this Summer to be admitted in Fall 2019.
Fullerton College currently offers a similar program with one year of free tuition to qualifying college students with the North Orange Promise. The North Orange County Community College District announced the North Orange Promise program on Oct. 10, 2017, that recently went into effect for students in Fall 2018.
To apply for this program incoming students must have graduated from a campus within the Anaheim Union High School District or a graduate (within one year) of the North Orange Continuing Education High School Diploma Program.
Once qualified into the program, student must register for a minimum of 12 units during each semester and maintain a 2.0 grade point average in the fall in order to be eligible for the spring semester.
Additionally, FC’s website does provide steps that students can follow that include registration and applying for financial aid. (https://admissions.fullcoll.edu/new-students)
“I wish this was around when I first started because navigating through college my first year was difficult and learning what it was like would have been great,” said Melissa Elias, a business major at FC.
California Legislature voted into law Assembly Bill No. 19 was on Oct. 13 2017. AB- 19 provides one year of free tuition to first time community college students enrolled in 12 or more units per semester.
On Dec 3rd 2018, the California Legislature passed Assembly Bill No. 2 in to law. “AB-2” extends the previous from one-year to two years of free tuition. The requirement of being enrolled in at least 12 units during the semester still applies to the new law.
Funds under “AB-19” and “AB-2” are provided by the State of California and can be used by the community college districts for tuition or other programs to meet their students’ needs.
All community colleges have the ability to offer up to two years free tuition with the funds provide by AB-2. In addition to being enrolled in at least 12 until, all students must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).
The ability of Fullerton to provide free tuition for the first two years of college would be beneficial to many students.
“Ultimately is it a good thing…but there are also concerns about free financial aid for students that are unable to enroll in 12 units,” said Viviana Perez, a Political Science major.
Free financial aid is still available for students enrolled in less than 12 units and who are past their second year of college. The Pell Grant and Cal Grant are still available for students who qualify. These grants also require a FASFA to be completed in order for the college to determine a student’s need.
Students who do not meet to requirements for free aid also have the option to obtain loans. All loans will have need to be paid back with interest.
For further questions regarding financial aid at Fullerton, visit the Financial Aid office online at http://financialaid.fullcoll.edu/typesoffinancialaid.html. The FASFA form is available on the US Department of Education’s Federal Student Aid site, https://studentaid.ed.gov/sa/.