Budget allocates funding to waive tuition at California community colleges

Students come and go from the Dianne G. Van Hook University Center at College of the Canyons. Cory Rubin/ The Signal

The tuition of first-time, full-time students at California community colleges will now be covered by California after state leaders agreed to dedicate more funding to higher education that will be used to expand the state’s promise program.

California and College of the Canyons’ promise programs both already allowed students to waive their first year of tuition, but thanks to the millions of dollars that were set aside by the state Legislature in the budget signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom, students will now receive a second year of tuition-free schooling.

COC recently celebrated the growth the Canyons Promise program has seen since its inaugural year, but school officials believe the program will benefit even more students with the additional funding.

“The great thing is, it completely expands the program so we can cover more students and get more people into the program,” said Jasmine Ruys, associate vice president of enrollment services.

The College of the Canyons Foundation recently completed a fundraiser that raised more than a half-million dollars for the Canyons Promise program, and Ruys said that will allow the school to offer students more than just free tuition.

“Tuition is what the state is providing, but we can go above and beyond that because of the generosity of the community,” Ruys said, mentioning the book vouchers, transportation passes and support systems that students will receive in addition to the free tuition. “We go beyond just paying fees. It’s really a student success program.”

Ruys added school officials are eager to accept additional students into the Canyons Promise program, but they’re even more excited to one day expand the program to include even more COC scholars. 

“We as an institution decided we want to help the students who were making too much to get grants, but not enough to actually afford college,” Ruys said. “Thats where we’ve been trying to help students the most, but it’s all preliminary, though.”

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