The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

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The Student Voice Of Contra Costa College, San Pablo, Calif.

The Advocate

Free tuition program expanded at Contra Costa College

The program has also been expanded at Diablo Valley College & Los Medanos College

The Contra Costa Community College District has announced plans to offer free tuition to more students. 

Expanding on a previous program that offered assistance to first-time students, new requirements allow returning students – including those who hold degrees – to apply for free tuition in the fall and spring semesters. 

“We are very excited to expand the Full-time Free Tuition Program to students who have previously attended college,” said Interim Chancellor Mojdeh Mehdizadeh in a district press release issued last month. “This cost-saving option provides the financial incentive returning full-time students may need to achieve their higher education objectives with us.” 

Students at the district’s three colleges – Contra Costa College, Diablo Valley College, and Los Medanos College – must complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act Application for the academic year in order to receive free tuition for up to two academic years. However, they do not have to qualify for financial aid to get free tuition. 

Students must be California residents (or be exempt from paying non-resident tuition fees) and must enroll in 12 or more units in a semester to qualify. 

The free tuition program previously only applied to first time students and was recently expanded to include all full-time students. College educators, administrators, and students have been advocating for this expansion since it was first approved by the Legislature and signed by the Governor in 2017. Funding for the program comes from the state budget,” mentioned a spokesperson from the district Timothy Leong in an email.

Although tuition fees per unit will be waived, students may still be required to pay for books and other materials required by classes, according to the district. 

The program went into effect on Sept. 5 and is available for students in the fall 2023 semester. Students who have already paid tuition but are eligible will be reimbursed, according to the district website. 

The district website notes that the Full-time Free Tuition Program is not available for those who are eligible for the California Promise Grant, which is a state tuition assistance program. Students can still use private scholarships for additional costs. 


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