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College Promise is a First Dollar Plan

By Barbara Muniz

If approved, the California College Promise Grant Plan (CCPGP) has the potential to attract even more students throughout the Golden state.


The CCPGP was originally called the Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver Program, which was initially signed by Governor Jerry Brown in September 2016.


A new name is a good way to entice students to enroll in colleges and this proposed plan, the most inclusive in the nation, shall not disappoint.


The CCPGP is a first-dollar plan, which means “the state covers the tuition costs first, and any other financial aid awarded to the student can be used to offset the cost of textbooks, transportation and other non-tuition expenses,” as defined by the chancellor’s office.


The proposal for the CCPGP is at the governor’s desk and is waiting for his approval.


According to an article in The Mercury News on Sept. 19, “Brown hasn’t given any indication whether he plans to sign it, and his office didn’t immediately respond to a request for a comment.”


For students struggling to make ends meet, the first-dollar plan helps. Many students work extra hours to pay for extra school expenses. The opposite, the last-dollar plan, was adopted by many states, including Tennessee, New York, South Carolina, Kentucky, Oregon and Georgia, but it doesn’t pay off students extra expenses, only the tuition fee.


Another update from California’s College Promise Program is their goal to attract drop out students, or those who believe their seemingly unachievable goal to graduate from a community college is just a dream. These are often the individuals at the bottom of the socio-economic ladder.


Vice President of The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS) Debbie Cochrane is excited about the inclusive plan and is aiming to create an appealing response which will not just attract drop out students but will also enlighten a new cultural vision that an Associate Degree or Certificate is indeed possible for all.


“An important aspect of the California Community College program is that it doesn’t set arbitrary eligibility limitations based on student’s age, academic merit or attendance status,” Cochrane said.


According to Democratic Assemblyman Miguel Santiago, a supporter of the AB 19 Community College Promise Program, “By 2025, there will be a shortage of 1 million college degree and certificate holders to sustain the state’s workforce.”


But is school price the only culprit for the high dropout statistics?


According to the Atlantic Daily, a non profit organization in Tennessee, giving social support to new students is paramount to keeping them in this new academic venue, one which wasn’t part of their underserved and underrepresented background. The state is taking some important measures to retain students, “Volunteer State College has hired five completion counselors who focus on retention efforts in different academic department.”


The challenge of engaging students in the college mindset can be smoothed out by surrounding the newcomers with ideas and groups which are pertinent to the academic arena, thus helping ensure dropout students do not return to their stagnant comfort zone.

The Guardsman