This week the Pasadena City College announced the start of a brand-new program designed to provide local high schoolers with the opportunity to go to college free for their first year. This new program covers all of the high schools located within the boundaries of the college district, which of course means it covers all Pasadena Unified School District’s high schools and the many private schools in the district.
According to the documents, there is only one requirement for those who wish to participate in this amazing program. This is that the student must graduate from one of these high schools and enroll in classes at Pasadena City College starting in the fall immediately after they graduate. Any students who enlist in the military after they graduate from high school will still be able to take part in the program. In order to do so, they will need to register at PCC for the first semester of school once they complete their military service.
While the first year of college may be free, there is, of course, one stipulation students must meet if they are to continue receiving this financial aid. This is that they must maintain a GPA of at least 2.0 and that they must enroll in at least units per semester. Currently, the program covers tuition costs for 2 semesters, but according to board president Ross Selvidge, the board is taking a close look at covering costs like books and transportation in the future.
This amazing program is called the “PCC Promise” and kicked off with a celebratory event held at Pasadena City College’s reflecting pool with a large crowd in attendance. Superintendent Rajen Vurdien had this to say, ” The point we want to make is that we want to make this education accessible to every single student who comes to Pasadena City College. We do not want students not to be able to attend school because they don’t have the money to pay for tuition.”
Jack Scott who is the former PCC President and Chancellor of California Community Colleges is the leader of the PCC Foundation’s attempts to engage everyone who lives here in the community, stated that he believes the program is a vital link for the many different types of students served by Pasadena City College. He also had this to say,” Whatever your high school record might have been, we are saying to you, ‘We invite you to come and pursue your education. Southern California has some wonderful four-year institutions, but you have to be in the top 10 or 15 percent in order to get into one of those institutions. What are we going to do with the other 85 percent? We’re going to say to them, ‘At Pasadena City College, we welcome you.'”
Not the First
PCC is not the first local or for that matter private college to offer this type of program to students who live in local cities. Others like Azusa Pacific University and the University of La Verne announced similar programs aimed at guaranteeing admission to those students who qualify earlier this year. These programs could not come at a better time as tuitions across the state are going up thanks to a 2.7 percent increase in tuition and fees that have just been approved by the University of California Board of Regents.