Wednesday, October 5, 2022

How To Apply For Free Community College In California

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California College Promise Program

Applying to College in California?

The California College Promise program allows California Community Colleges to provide free tuition but only to students who qualify. The California College Promise program requires students to reapply every academic year. Not all California community colleges offer the program, which is administered by the chancellor of the CCC.

Qualifying students receive funding for 12 months. However, only certain majors may be eligible for the program. Other eligibility standards may also apply. These include being:

  • First-time students
  • Part of a underrepresented group, such as minority or LGBTQ+ communities
  • Ready to make a two-year or four-year college commitment

To stay in the program, students may also need to create an enrollment plan, complete a certain number of credits in an academic year, and regularly meet with advisors.

Community colleges may have more restrictions for the California College Promise program. Fee waivers must be approved before the end of the semester to receive aid.

What Is The California College Promise Grant

The California College Promise Grant pays community college fees for low-income California residents attending community college in the state.

This grant is available regardless of the number of units the student takes . Students are eligible for this grant even if theyve been studying already.

To qualify for the California College Promise Grant, you must be a California resident or AB 540 eligible student . Further, you must demonstrate financial need.

How can you prove financial need? You may qualify if:

  • You receive Temporary Aid for Needy Families , Supplemental Security Income , or another form of government assistance for low-income families.
  • You meet the low-income standards according to federal poverty guidelines. For example, as of January 2021, a two-person household must earn less than $17,420 to qualify .

How To Go To Community College In California For Free

  • How to Go to Community College in California for Free

Having a formal education can open up doors to more job opportunities and serve as the starting point for career success. Unfortunately, higher education in the United States is expensive. Community colleges are dedicated to providing practical, quality education to students at affordable rates. This is a great option for many students. The average tuition for community college is less than half the cost of a public university.

In some states, you may even be able to attend community college for free. Many California community colleges offer free tuition options to help you get the knowledge and skills you need for a brighter future without breaking the bank. This article details free tuition options in California and explains how you can take advantage of them.

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Deadline For Los Rios Promise Program Enrollment And Fafsa Completion

Eligible students must enroll in classes and submit the FAFSA/CADAA by the following deadlines to receive Los Rios Promise funds:


  • Summer 2021: June 16, 2021
  • Fall 2021: September 7, 2021
  • Spring 2022: January 31, 2022

To be eligible for the Los Rios Promise, you must:

  • Be a California resident
  • Be a first-time college student*
  • Enroll in and maintain at least 12 units for fall and spring semesters by the deadline
  • Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the California Dream Act Application by the deadline

* Courses taken during high school are considered “pre-college” and do not prevent you from taking advantage of the Los Rios Promise. Students who transfer from a college other than a Los Rios college may eligible upon review by the Financial Aid Office.

The Los Rios Promise program is limited to two award years. Summer is the beginning of an award year. One award year is equal to summer, fall, and spring. Enrollment in any one term within the award year would be considered one of the two award years for the Promise program.

Los Rios Promise Funds for Summer Tuition Fees

To use Los Rios Promise funds to pay for your summer tuition fees, you must enroll in 12 or more units for the summer term by the Los Rios Promise Program Enrollment and FAFSA Completion deadline.

Eligibility for Mid-Year First-Time New and Second Year Recipients

Provide Proof Of State Residency If Applicable

The Best Community Colleges in California

If you’re applying for in-state tuition, then you may need to provide proof of in-state residency. Students who have attended high schools in the same state as the community college for more than a year usually don’t need to send any further evidence. Your transcript will show that you lived and attended school in-state.

If you didn’t attend high school in the state or the college asks for further documentation, you could send a state driver’s license, local bank account, vehicle registration, voter registration, or state or federal income taxes with in-state residential addresses. All of these should be dated at least a year previous.

If you’re a dependent, then the document you send should belong to a parent. If you’re an independent, then it should belong to you.

If you’re not sure what steps you need to take here, you should contact the community college to get their advice. You wouldn’t want to miss out on financial aid due to confusion with the application. The community college should contact you if there are any issues, but it’s still worthwhile to be proactive and ask them for guidance.

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Fill Out And Submit Your Online Community College Application

While many 4-year schools use the Common Application or Universal Application, most community colleges have their own online application portals. A few states offer one system for all of their community colleges, such as California with its “CCCApply” site.

Every college designs its own website, but most will have a tab where you can click “Apply.” You can see a few examples of the application pages of this northeast community college, Bunker Hill Community College, along with the Community College of Philadelphia and City Colleges of Chicago .

While they have some differences in design, most community college applications ask for the same details: your name, address, citizenship, residency, high school, and intended major. Most ask for your overall goal, whether you want to earn an Associate’s degree or certificate, acquire personal or professional skills, transfer to a 4-year institution, or enter the workforce.

If you’ve already taken some college courses, then you may be able to transfer credits. Additionally, these applications ask if you’re applying for financial aid. Your last step will be providing your electronic signature and hitting submit.

As you can see, you typically don’t need to write essays, gather recommendations, or send SAT / ACT scores to community colleges. Generally speaking, the only document you need to provide from your high school is your diploma, GED, or transcript.

How To Choose A College

Studying at a Community College can be a great experience but all colleges are not suitable for international students. So do some research and look for the following criteria:

  • How many students does the college have? To enjoy college life and be able to choose the subjects you like you should make sure that the college you are applying for isnt too small.
  • Do they have international students? Colleges with many international students will most likely have a better support system in place for international students and you can get to know more students in the same situation.
  • Do they have agreements with good universities? If you consider taking a Bachelors Degree in the US you should apply for a Community College that has transfer agreements with good universities. Then you can transfer to the university and count all your credits from the Community College. Good transfer agreements are usually a sign of a good college.
  • Does the school have a good location? Life outside of the classroom is a big part of studying abroad so make sure that you choose a school with an attractive location. However always form your own opinion. What is attractive to others might not be attractive to you. Some people like warm weather and beaches, others like big cities or smaller places close to nature.

You should also look at reviews, student housing, tuition fees, the subjects that the college offers etc. For more information see our article on how to choose a school abroad.

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What Is The California Dream Act

The Dream Act is really two laws that were passed in 2011 and allow AB 540 students to apply for and receive several types of financial aid, including:

  • Board of Governors Fee Waivers
  • State financial aid like Cal Grants and Chafee Grants
  • Assistance from EOPS, CARE or CalWORKs
  • Privately-funded scholarships

Check with your college financial aid, scholarship, EOPS/CARE and CalWORKs offices to see what is available.

What Could National Free Tuition Mean For California

California community colleges will cover DACA fees. Find out if you qualify

It depends on which, if any, of the free tuitionbills gets through Congress. What state leaders definitely don’t want is for California to get less federal funding than other states that charge more for tuition. That could happen if the government matches the cost of tuition in each state rather than allocating funding based on average tuition nationwide.

“Since California has the lowest tuition in the country, we wouldn’t want to see our students be penalized because our state invests more money in our system,” Chancellor Oakley said.

Oakley would also want federal tuition funding to come with enough flexibility to allow states to use the money to best serve their students, while still holding them accountable for positive outcomes. He said he’d like to use federal dollars for supplemental instruction and emergency aid to minimize “all the things that we know very, very well prevent low-income students from succeeding.”

Jessica Thompson, associate vice president for The Institute for College Access and Success, cheered Biden’s plan to also provide two years of subsidized tuition at four-year universities designated as “minority-serving institutions,” which would include many of the California State University campuses as well as some University of California campuses.

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States Which Offer Tuition

The Arkansas Future Grant is a last-dollar grant that is available to students pursuing a two-year program in science, technology, engineering, and math fields or a regional high demand area of study.

Eligibility Criteria

Students who have graduated from an Arkansas public school or received a recognized high school equivalency diploma, and have lived in the state for three consecutive years are eligible to apply for the program.

Apart from that, a recipient must complete eight hours of community service per semester and must work full-time for three consecutive years in the state following graduation.

Unlike most of the programs in this list, California Promise is a first-dollar program, which means it provides tuition waivers to students, regardless of additional funding or grants the students are eligible for.

Eligibility Criteria

As one of the best examples of free community college on this list, state resident students planning to attend or attending a two-year or four-year degree can apply.

Only full-time students are eligible, which means students must complete 30-semester units within each academic year.

How To Obtain A Free Community College Education In Tennessee

Tennessee has been the model for many states in adopting last-dollar funding for community colleges. This form of community college funding covers all remaining tuition and fees for students once they have exhausted all other Federal and State aid applied to their community college tuition. Applicants must have graduated from a Tennessee high school and be below the age of 19 when starting their community college schooling. Additionally, students that obtain this offer must pursue schooling full-time, not drop below a 2.0 GPA, and engage in 8+ hours of community service every semester.

  • Community Colleges offering online courses in TN: 66

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Does Every California Community College Offer The Promise Program

The short answer is no. According to California Community Colleges, colleges have the option on whether to waive enrollment fees.

According to a post on the CCC website, ” Not all colleges receiving Promise money are waiving enrollment fees many believe their California Promise funding is better used for other purposes, such as strengthening student support services to boost outcomes, or providing grants to help students cover the costs of childcare, transportation, books or other expenses.”

So, if you are hoping to get free tuition under the California College Promise Program you might want to check with the college before you enroll.

How To Go To Community College Online For Free

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Associates degrees are some of the highest return-on-investment degrees out there. And some are even free!

For over a decade some states have offered free community college tuition to residents of the same state or district. This is often seen as a great investment in much-needed fields that are primarily taught at the associates level. Many of these fields are quite lucrative for the amount of time spent in school. And have great returns on investment even for paid associates degree programs. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics high school graduates with no college earn an average of $718 a week. For graduates of associates degree programs or those that hold some college this number jumps to $799 per week or a salary of $41,548 a year. With a national average salary of $37,040, community colleges hold some of the most direct paths to higher than average salaries in America. Some of the highest-earning fields requiring only an associates degree include:

Highest Earning Positions Requiring Associates Degrees / Average Salary

  • Air Traffic Controller / $122,410
  • Some Computer Programming Positions / $79,840
  • Nuclear Medicine Technologist / $74,350
  • Paralegal / $49,500
  • HVAC Technician / $45,190

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Discover More About The Costs Of College At Collegefinancecom

The list above may not be comprehensive, as many non-participating states consider similar programs periodically. In fact, the government may soon offer free community college nationally.

But whether you qualify for free tuition, offers all the resources and information you need to plan for your education, including how to save for the cost of tuition, how to apply for financial aid and scholarships, how to obtain student loans, and how to pay off student debt after graduation. Check out the resources at today.

Disclaimer: The College Finance Company works hard to keep information listed on our site accurate and up to date. The information provided on may be different than what you encounter when you go to the website of a financial institution, bank, loan servicer or a specific product page on a different site. When evaluating any offers, please review the legal pages on the other partys site. Product name, logo, brands, and other trademarks featured or referred to within are the property of their respective trademark holders. Information obtained via is for educational purposes only. Always consult a licensed financial expert before committing to any financial decision.

Which States Have Free Community College

There are 20 US states that provide tuition-free community programs for eligible students. These are Arkansas, Boston, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, New York, Nevada, Oklahoma, Oregon, Rhode Island, Seattle, Tennessee, Virginia, and Washington.

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Do Community Colleges Offer Bachelor Degrees

Yes. In the US, 23 states allow community colleges to offer a bachelors degree. On the list are Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

How To Apply To An Ontario College

FREE COLLEGE – CALIFORNIA! ð The California Promise Grant. You can get your degree tuition free!
  • Home
  • Applying
  • The first step in applying to college is to research the programs and colleges available to you. If you have not already decided what programs you are applying to, you can:

    The next step is to create an account with and begin your college application.

    Ready to start your application?

    to your account to complete your application, make changes or confirm offers of admission.

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    Hawaii Hawaii Promise Scholarship

    The Hawaii Promise Scholarship covers the tuition fees of students who are enrolled in at least six credits at a University of Hawaii Community College. This is a last-dollar program, meaning it covers financial needs not met by other forms of financial aids. It covers tuition, fees, books, supplies, and transportation for eligible students. Around 1,500 students received the scholarship in 2017-18, receiving an average of $1,200 each.

    Eligibility Criteria

    Residents of Hawaii who have submitted their Free Application for Federal Student Aid application can apply.

    How To Obtain A Free Community College Education In New York

    Starting in the 2017-18 school year, New York has perhaps the most far-reaching free undergraduate tuition offer of any state. The Excelsior Scholarship is available to all New York residents attending 2 or 4-year degree programs at CUNY or SUNY campuses and whose families earn less than $125,000 a year. This is a last dollar scholarship meaning that it is applied after other state, federal, and scholarship aid. Though it may be applied up to the total cost of attendance at 2 or 4-year institutions. Besides keeping up a solid GPA, recipients must stay and work in the state of New York for as many years as they received the scholarship after graduation, or pay off their award as debt.

    • Community Colleges offering online courses in NY: 46

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