Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

California schools offer new options for students to attend tuition-free

Students in California could expect to leave college with about $22,000 in student debt.

By Aaron Velasquez

Attending a college in the United States can sometimes lead to accumulating a lot of student debt. According to a report from The Institute of College Access and Success, students in California could expect to leave college with about $22,000 in student debt. While this number is lower than the national average of $29,200, California is working towards reducing it. 

The program provides the opportunity for incoming college students to attend tuition-free if they meet the requirements of enrolling in at least 12 units and maintaining a 2.0 GPA.  Photo Credit: Pickpik.com

Students in California have new options for attending college without the expense of paying for tuition. Gov. Gavin Newsom announced his Promise Program expansion in 2019, which states that full time college students who are enrolled for the first time can receive two years tuition-free at a community college.

Local community colleges like Fullerton College have taken account and set up the Promise Program department to aid the students who are involved in this pledge financially and academically. 

The program provides the opportunity for incoming college students to attend tuition-free if they meet the requirements of enrolling in at least 12 units and maintaining a 2.0 GPA. 

Fullerton College tuition is $46 per unit, so a full-time student can expect to pay at least $1,104 a semester if they don’t receive any aid. The Promise Program also covers the $19 health fee; however the program does not cover additional costs such as the parking permit ($40), course material & lab fees, associated student fee ($12), and the student ID card ($3.50).

Tuition at California State Universities is $5,742 per year and University of California tuition is $12,360. Students who begin their education at community college through the Promise Program can save thousands of dollars and avoid additional loan debt before transfering to a UC or CSU. 

Some private institutions are also working towards providing tuition-free schooling. University of Southern California announced that financial aid changes will allow students whose families make under $80,000 a year to attend tuition-free starting in 2020-21.

USC anticipates that a third of the incoming 2020-21 undergraduates will fall under this financial aid category. While this financial aid covers the hefty cost of tuition at $57,000, the average student will have to spend an additional $20,000 for housing, dining, books and supplies.

Other programs already in place in California offer income-based grants to help pay for tuition costs. Students who are eligible for income based grants can apply for the Promise Grant–which is separate from the Promise Program.

The Cal Grant B can pay students up to $1,672 per academic year. To qualify for the Cal Grant B a student must meet the low income requirement ceiling of $43,000 for a family size of 2, attend school for at least six units, and maintain a 2.0 GPA. While this option may not lead to “tuition-free” schooling, it is the most used by college students in California.