‘San Diego Promise’ program launches at community colleges

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) — The "Free Community College" movement has officially arrived in San Diego.

The first students have been selected for the pilot program called, "San Diego Promise."

The San Diego Community College district is welcoming 201 students, who will be attending it’s colleges free of charge.

"My mom’s a single parent and she is supporting me and my brother as well as my family in the Philippines," said Tiffany Celzo, one of the students selected for the pilot program.

"It’s very hard for our financial situation to get me into college and pay for tuition and the books, especially the books because it’s so expensive," she said.

Philip Kist is also an entering freshman.

" I’m a little overwhelmed with everything coming so fast but it is relieving to know that I’m able to do and get a jump start on all this," he said.

And his parents are especially relieved.

"We’re very excited for all the help that’s been given to us," they said.

"This began with the State of the Union address by President Obama in 2015 when he said that community college should be free of course there is no federal funding for that but we took him at his word so we’re starting with a pilot program," said Chancellor Constance Carroll of SDCCD.

Instead of waiting for public funds, the San Diego Community College District decided to raise the money themselves and is able to send 175 graduating high school seniors and 26 adult students from San Diego continuing education to college for free.

" I didn’t have enough money even to attend college and I’m really glad I found this opportunity to go for free," said another student, Leo Marciulionis.

Students were selected based on need and on their commitment to pursuing a degree or certificate.

Categories: Local San Diego News