Southwestern College. Photo credit: @SouthwesternCC, via Facebook

Southwestern College in Chula Vista will forgive $1.5 million in outstanding student tuition for more than 4,200 students using federal COVID-19 relief funds, officials said Thursday.

Students enrolled for classes in spring and summer of this year will have all of their outstanding tuition, along with related enrollment fees, forgiven. Holds incurred from nonpayment will be removed from this group of students’ accounts.

“Southwestern College is making a significant commitment to support our students by directly investing in them,” said Mark Sanchez, the college’s superintendent and president.

“We understand that students have faced financial barriers because of the COVID-19 pandemic, therefore, the work of the college is to remove these barriers, creating a clear pathway for student re-enrollment and pursuit of their goals at Southwestern College.”

Colleges and universities across the country received funds from the American Rescue Plan Act, passed in March, to support students and on-campus operations.

Southwestern College will spend the funds on students, specifically targeting those who have faced financial hardships because of the pandemic.

For much of 2020 and 2021, many of Southwestern College’s students – especially older and/or nontraditional enrollees – faced the dual crises of COVID-19 and last year’s economic downturn.

Though programs like SWC Cares have provided assistance with basic necessities, such as transportation and food, tuition and enrollment fees were still a hurdle that prevented many students from continuing their educational journeys, Sanchez said.

– City News Service

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