Free community college

California residents can attend any community college in California for free through a state program that covers tuition fees.

The California College Promise Grant (CCPG)’s goal is to make higher education more affordable and accessible to students who otherwise cannot pay for the cost of college.

Tuition currently costs $46 per unit for all community college courses. According to the California Community Colleges system, the grant gave out more than $803 million in financial aid to over half of the 2.1 million community college students in the state for the 2013-14 academic year.

Tony Tran, San Gabriel’s East Los Angeles College ambassador, said that CCPG is based on a previous financial aid program.

“The grant is from a fee waiver we used to have,” Tran said. “We used to have a Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver, and if you qualified for the fee waiver, it waived your tuition.”

The BOG Fee Waiver changed its name in 2017 to CCPG. However, its eligibility requirements, application process, and benefits remain the same.

Qualification for CCPG is determined by demonstrated financial need.

“Everything is sent to [Free Application for Federal Student Aid],” Tran said. “We determine your income through FAFSA, and if you qualify with your income, you can get the grant.”

Once qualified, students are expected to maintain certain academic and progress standards in college. Their grade point average must be at least 2.0, and they must pass more than half their classes. Inability to sustain the minimum requirements may result in loss of grant eligibility.

The grant only covers tuition; it does not pay for books and supplies.

Visit <icanaffordcollege.com> or the College and Career Center for more information.

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