The Ventura College Foundation’s board of directors has voted to expand the Ventura College Promise program from one year of free tuition to two.
“Our first-year VC Promise began in 2007. It was the first of its kind in the state and a model for other California community colleges,” said Anne King, Ventura College Foundation executive director, in a statement.
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The success of the promise was referenced in State Assembly Bill 19 that was signed into law last year and establishes a statewide “promise” program that waives tuition fees for qualified first-year community college students, King said. To be eligible, students must live in Ventura County, have graduated from a Ventura County high school and be no older than 20.
“With the combined public-private funding from the state’s program and community support, our VC Promise is expanding and qualified students can now attend two consecutive school years at Ventura College tuition-free,” King said.
The foundation will also cover supplemental fees for all VC Promise students through private donations and proceeds from its Weekend Marketplace.
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Because of the new public-private funding, an estimated 1,500 students will now benefit from the expanded first-year VC Promise.
The second-year VC Promise will begin in the 2019-20 academic year.
Students will receive second-year VC Promise support on a first-come, first-served basis and must meet specific academic and career planning criteria to qualify. An estimated 200 students will be served by adding the second year.
“The goal is to remove the financial barriers that keep students from pursuing a college education,” said Damon Bell, interim president of Ventura College. “With 70 percent of our students living in low or moderately low-income households, tuition costs make college out of reach for many.”
According to the Ventura College Foundation, VC Promise students are 70 percent more likely to earn a degree or certificate in four years.
VC Promise is also available to veterans, active duty military, and DACA students. For more about VC Promise and the Ventura College Foundation, visit www.vcgiving.org or call 805-289-6461.