While not exactly going for the "full Bernie Sanders"—in other words, no tuition for any student at all public colleges and universities—Santa Ana College is gearing up for free tuition for full-time freshmen starting this fall semester.
Santa Ana Partnership—a 33-year-old coalition that includes SAC, the Santa Ana Unified School District, UC Irvine, Cal State Fullerton and municipal, community, business and parent organizations—announced the "historic promise" this week.
With each unit priced at $46 for resident students, the savings will be $1,104 for fall and spring semester full-timers—or even more depending on the course load, according to SAC.
"This new level of support brings honor to the academic goals of our amazing students and will bring us ever closer to achieving a college degree in every home in Santa Ana," says SAC President Erlinda J. Martinez in a statement.
The local move folds into America’s College Promise Initiative launched by the White House and the U.S. Department of Education last year, according to the SAC statement.
Some funding to make the local promise possible comes from the nonprofit Santa Ana College Foundation, whose 22-member board of directors also raises funds to support other programs for the 101-year-old college and its students.
"It is all about getting these amazing kids to the finish line," says SACF President Ken Purcell, "we are making history here in Santa Ana."
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Additional monies for the initiative will come from the state’s Award for Innovation in Higher Education that was bestowed last May and, as needed, Santa Ana College’s Centennial Scholarship Campaign, which to date has raised more than $1 million.
Last fall, through the Santa Ana Partnership, UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman and CSUF President Mildred Garcia renewed their commitments to guaranteeing university transfer to their institutions for Santa Ana Unified School District students who graduated high school, enrolled the following year at Santa Ana College and met their respective institution’s academic requirements.
"This is another example of how our successful partnership with Santa Ana College, Cal State Fullerton and UCI continues to provide unique opportunities to Santa Ana Unified students to make their dreams of college come true," says Rick Miller, the district's superintendent, of the tuition-free enrollment promise.
For information on how to access free tuition for the freshman year at Santa Ana College, contact Dr. Sara Lundquist’s office at 714.564.6085.