Students at Allan Hancock College in Santa Maria will get their first year of tuition for free thanks to money from a college grant. However, the community college says the money from the bill is not enough to cover a full two years.
AB 19 was originally designed to make the first year of community college free for students.
Recently, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed increasing the amount of the bill to cover two years.
Unfortunately, Hancock College says it’s not getting enough money from the grant to support a two-year program.
Hancock officials say the state is giving them $408,000. While the state calculates that should cover two years worth of tuition, Hancock says the cost of tuition was $383,000 last year alone.
Regardless, Hancock says a free year of college is beneficial for the students.
“We know this program works,” said Kevin Walthers, Allan Hancock College Superintendent/President. “So last year, the number of students coming to us directly from our local high schools went up by 40 percent. Our number of low-income high school students went up by 48 percent, so we know the Promise works.”
School officials say the long-term goal is to create an endowment so that they keep their Hancock Promise, regardless of state funding.
Right now, the college offers half a million dollars in scholarships for students at the end of the year.