Monterey Peninsula College expands free tuition program to second-year students – Monterey Herald

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MONTEREY — After providing free tuition to qualified first-year students last school year, Monterey Peninsula College will expand the program to include second-year students.

“It’s nice to know that students who were able to take advantage of it for their first year can continue on with their second year,” said Kristin Darken, a spokeswoman for MPC. “They don’t have to try to figure out where those funds are coming from.”

Classes at MPC cost $46 a unit, meaning students who take 12 units would save $552 per term and students enrolled in 16 units would save $736.

“Last year the Monterey Peninsula College Promise provided students with a first year of tuition-free college. We are now expanding free tuition to a second year to help students achieve their academic goals,” said MPC Interim Superintendent/President David Martin in a press release. “The Monterey Peninsula College Promise removes the cost of tuition from the equation, so students can earn a certificate or degree and move into higher-paying careers or transfer to a four-year university sooner. MPC is excited to be able to offer this advantage to all qualifying students, no matter their household income.”

The free in-state tuition program requires students to take 12 or more units for fall 2019 and continue through spring 2020, declare an educational goal of earning a certificate, associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year school, complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application and complete an MPC Orientation and develop an educational plan with a counselor. Those looking to take advantage of the program must be first-time college students or second-year college students who met program requirements in the past academic year.

Students who received college credit before graduating from high school may participate in the program as long as they did not attend any college after graduating from high school.

“We want everybody to come and talk to Financial Aid because we’ll probably be able to help them out,” Darken said.

Qualified students can also receive help or paying for textbooks, meals, electronic devices and transportation.

“We live in a costly area where it is extremely challenging to be a college student, which typically requires working fewer hours to attend class and study,” said Beccie Michael, MPC’s vice president of advancement and the executive director of the MPC Foundation, in a statement. “In addition to tuition assistance, we offer hundreds of scholarships that are instrumental in helping financially-needy students to attend college.”

The MPC Promise Initiative is funded under state Assembly Bill 19, which is administered by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office.

“Tuition expenses are one of many challenges that our students have to consider — textbooks, childcare, transportation, food, and housing insecurities are more present than ever before as students travel through their educational experience. The expansion of the MPC Promise program provides yet another financial resource to students to address some of the financial challenges that may impact student success, but it is important that they are aware of the variety of additional resources we have to offer at MPC,” said Larry Walker, vice president of Student Services, in a statement. “Financial support is just one piece of the puzzle. Our team stands ready to help provide the support that students need to make the transition to college and through to their graduation.”

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