Photo via San Diego Community College District
Photo via San Diego Community College District

The San Diego Promise program selected 600 graduating high school students who will receive free tuition and books if they attend classes this fall at a San Diego Community College District campus.

Those selected were among 1,100 applicants from 26 high schools in the San Diego Unified School District. Students were selected based on a combination of need — including barriers they have faced in the past — and commitment to completing a college degree, certificate, or transfer program, according to the SDCCD.

“Many students are discouraged by the high cost of attending college, which includes the enrollment fee or tuition and textbooks,” said SDCCD Chancellor Constance Carroll.

“Most students also work and have extensive life expenses as well,” Carroll said. “The San Diego Promise is intended to give these students an opportunity to pursue their education and become contributing members of our community by eliminating the burden of direct educational costs.”

The program, entering its second year, pays for enrollment fees and books that are not covered by financial aid.

In exchange, participants must take part in orientation services and map out an education plan, be enrolled in at least 12 units for both fall and spring, provide at least eight hours of community service and maintain a minimum grade-point average of 2.0.

According to the SDCCD, 286 students have opted to attend San Diego Mesa College, 195 will enroll at City College, and 94 say they will enter Miramar College. Another 25 are undecided.

In the first year of the program, 180 students joined San Diego Promise.

A study by the college district found that 9 of 10 students in the program are from traditionally underrepresented communities, and half have a household income of less than $40,000 annually.

—City News Service