All families, no matter their financial background, can strategically plan for an affordable and accessible path to attend college. There are different ways to do so. One of the ways is to start at a community college and transfer. According to the website CCC Apply, 2.1 million students across the state of California transfer to a four-year college/universities.
Usually, I recommend that students explore the freshman admission path before automatically choosing the transfer route, as there are more financial aid opportunities for freshman applicants. However, if you have already decided (or almost decided) to attend a community college, I have good news for you.
Earlier this month, I met with the Director of Financial Aid, Francisco Tostado, from Monterey Peninsula College. He is a financial aid expert and has been in the industry for a long time. We talked about how financial aid works and community college students. After talking to him, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about available financial resources and the changes California community colleges are making to support students transfer to a four-year college.
Here are the two biggest takeaways (I hope it helps you!):
1) If you are a student who is 18 years old (or over) and don’t live with your parents, you can qualify for the California Promise Grant. This grant provides free money for all students who make less $18,000 a year and are not financially dependent on their parents. Many students apply every year and receive aid to pay for tuition at California community college. If you are interested in applying, visit: How to apply online for a California Promise Grant.
2) If you have taken college prep courses in high school and received a C or higher, you can now be placed using your high school transcripts instead of taking tests. In the past, students would take an assessment test and would need to retake courses that this took in high school. Not anymore.
Thanks to AB 705 bill, which took effect on January 1, 2018, students can now use their transcripts to determine coursework in English and math within one year of taking the courses. This is huge! Take advantage of this opportunity if you are starting at a community college. As soon as you graduate from high school, or even during your senior year, meet with a community college counselor and start working on your plan. Take the right courses, get good grades, and jumpstart your transfer process.
Wherever you are in your life, know that you have a lot of options. Seek advice and make your plan to reach your inspired dream!