Gavilan Promise paves financial path to student successby on Jan 11, 2019
Gavilan Promise, a program offering first year, free tuition to new to college students regardless of income level, launched in Fall 2018. The college plans to expand the program in Spring 2019.
“To envision the future,” said Veronica Martinez, Director of Financial Aid, “The program encourages new to college students to come to Gavilan, save money, start their college educations.” With a small launch last semester, the college is eager to grow the program.
Students complete one of two applications, FAFSA or California Dream Act. Martinez noted that, while the application process is lengthy, completing it offers huge benefits to students.
“Help is available,” said Martinez. “Students can work with Financial Aid counselors to complete the application.”
The Gavilan Promise program rolled out in 2018 after the state budget allocating $46M was adopted. To qualify, colleges must have an existing student loan program with students participating in the program. The state also required that colleges have high school partnerships-to-entry pathways in place. Gavilan met all the requirements.
The district program is part of the statewide California College Promise program, which offers free tuition to all first time college students, regardless of income, who carry 12 or more units and maintain a 2.0 GPA.
Gavilan College received a two-year allocation of $218K. If that money is allocated by June of 2019, the funding can carry forward for another year.
The first semester, 50 students participated, receiving free tuition and textbook assistance. A qualifying student taking the minimum 12 units can receive financial aid covering tuition of $552, plus up to $200 in textbook credit in each of their first two semesters. A student carrying 15 units would receive $690 and a student enrolled in 18 units would receive $828 per semester, plus textbook credit.
Incoming California Governor Gavin Newsom made funding for higher education a priority. The 2019-2020 California State Budget, announced January 10, proposes extending the one-year Promise program to cover two full years of community college.
“Financial Aid is identifying students who qualified for the program but did not apply in Fall 2018,” said Martinez. Once they file their financial aid applications, the college can award Gavilan Promise funds retroactively. In addition, she said, “Peer mentors will be trained to promote the program.”
During the fall, Financial Aid identified students who qualified and sent out notifications. An outreach program to locate additional qualifying students is underway.
Martinez encouraged all students to explore the Gavilan Promise opportunity. “Come visit the Welcome Center. We will help you navigate the application process.”