“San José City College was the first college in the San Francisco Bay Area to announce such a program,” said SJCC’s Vice President of Student Affairs, William L. Garcia.
“Free tuition and zero student fees is a great way to return to college or initiate a college experience with little to no costs for students,” Garcia continued.
Thanks to the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF), the vast majority of SJCC students will be able to attend classes this Spring semester — for free — as long as they seize the opportunity. Now let’s explore how this program works and how you can apply!
What Is the Free Tuition Program?
Most of us likely find it hard to believe when something is 100% free. We often wonder — what’s the catch? In this case, there isn’t one. Just remember, it’s a one-time deal that may not be coming back again soon, and in order to receive it, you need to apply.
How Is This Program Possible?
HEERF funding and the free tuition program is a result of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The CARES Act has provided $2.2 trillion in financial assistance to Americans overall, and $14 billion to higher education institutions.
In a recent press release, Dr. Rowena Tomaneng, SJCC’s President said, “As an educator in the California Community College system for more than 26 years, offering free college to our students is a rare and extraordinary opportunity.”
Who Is Eligible for Free Tuition?
The good news is that the majority of SJCC students will be eligible for this program. If you are a California resident or an Assembly Bill (AB) 540 designated student, that includes you. But here’s a further breakdown of who can apply:
- California residents
- Undocumented students who meet the AB 540 requirements
- New, current, and former students
- High school students
It’s important to note that even if you are eligible — you do not automatically receive these benefits — there is a near guarantee that you will be approved, but you still need to officially apply. We’ll get to that a little later on.
Unfortunately, out-of-state and international students will not qualify for this program. However, we still encourage all students to apply for Financial Aid.
Why One Free Semester Can Make a Huge Difference
There are plenty of reasons to pursue the free tuition program at SJCC. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Here’s how one free semester can significantly shape your future.
You Can Save Thousands as a Transfer Student
When you consider how much you can save by completing an entire free semester at San José City College, you’ll quickly realize that the free tuition program is an incredible opportunity. This is especially true if you’re in the process of completing an associate’s degree, and planning to transfer to a 4-year university. Let’s take a look at the numbers.
According to the California State University (CSU) Tuition and Fees Comparison, the annual fee for a CSU typically comes in between $5,000 and $10,000. San José State specifically, will cost around $7,800 per year. And if you want to attend a University of California (UC) campus, the tuition and fees alone easily surpass $17,000 annually.
This means that one semester at a bay area CSU will likely cost you about $3,900. At any UC, this number will be closer to $8,500. (Remember, this is tuition and fees alone. Now compare that to the price of Spring semester 2022 at SJCC — that can come in at $0.
The bottom line? If you plan to pursue a 4-year degree, you can drastically reduce your student debt and overall financial stress by taking advantage of this initiative. Plus, SJCC offers tons of quality transfer degrees — from studio arts to biology. If this path appeals to you, you might want to check out our full list of transfer degrees.
You Can Launch Your Career
San José City College also offers some of the most respected and trailblazing career education programs. These courses are designed to get you started on a new path quickly.
For example, our certificates in medical assisting, dental assisting, and cosmetology have repeatedly been recognized for their excellence.
Also, as a bay area community college, we continue to develop our tech-focused offerings, like Laser Technology and Computer Information Systems. In particular our technest program is thriving. Since you can complete many of our certificate programs in about a year, just one semester of free tuition can make a big dent in your costs.
How to Apply to the Free Tuition Program
Fortunately, applying to the free tuition program is simple. If you meet the eligibility requirements, you will have no problem being approved.
To receive free tuition and no student fees, just do the following:
- Apply for admission by February 13th, 2022 (by 11:59 pm)
- Submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), California Dream Act Application, or California College Promise Grant for the 2021-2022 Award Year.
- Register for classes (a minimum of 6 units)
If you are having trouble with any of these steps, we encourage you to ask for help in our Financial Aid Office. You don’t want to miss out on this opportunity due to a technicality.
Don’t Miss Out on Free Tuition!
When it comes to free tuition — you truly have nothing to lose! If you know you’re eligible, but you’re worried about filling out the forms correctly, don’t hesitate to seek out one-on-one support from our financial aid experts!
Are you interested in more SJCC news? If you haven’t had the chance yet — check out our centennial stories, or learn about how we were named equity champions in 2021!