California College Promise replaces BOG Waiver


The Student Services building on the American River College campus has workers ready to help students navigate the application process for the California College Promise program on Oct. 2, 2018. (Photo by Patrick Hyun Wilson)

Patrick Hyun Wilson

The California College Promise Grant, enacted to waive tuition costs for first-time students attending community college, will provide approximately 39,000 students in the Los Rios Community College District with free tuition.

Written by California assemblymember Miguel Santiago (D-Los Angeles), the California College Promise, or AB-19, was set to provide free college tuition for first-time students who enrolled in at least 12 units at the community college level. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill on Oct. 13, 2017.

Approximately 19,000 students at American River College are taking advantage of the program, according to Gabe Ross, Associate Vice Chancellor for Communications and Media Relations for the Los Rios Community College District.

“We are combining a number of different local, state and federal funding  to offer greater access to free tuition,” Ross said.

The California College Promise program replaced the Board of Governors Fee Waiver program in fall 2018, providing free tuition for California community colleges in the BOG Waiver’s place.

In January, the office of Governor Brown released his proposed budget for California community colleges, providing $46 million for the implementation of the California College Promise program.

The money provided for the program exceeds the $26 million that the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office proposed in 2017.

The California College Promise program is funded through Proposition 98. Since 1988, Proposition 98 has guaranteed minimum funding for K-12 school districts and community colleges in California.

Some students who enroll through the California College Promise program may also be eligible for additional years of free tuition, according to Ross.

In order to apply, students must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 units and complete either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or a California Dream Act form.

Younus Sorosh, economics major, applied to the program for the 2018 fall semester. Before applying for California College Promise money, he would have had to pay $600.

“Through the BOG waivers, I only paid $50,” Sorosh said.

Sorosh is attending classes at ARC for the first time this fall and hopes to find work in finance.

“I want to have a higher education,” Sorosh said. “I think a degree will be a very good thing in my life and will change my life.”

Students seeking to apply for the California College Promise program can apply online or at the financial aid office located on the ARC campus.