SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A plan to offer two years of free tuition, supplies, and book costs to incoming local Santa Barbara City College students from the local area, has been proposed.
The proposal is from the Santa Barbara City College Foundation and it will be funded with personal donations and contributions from foundations.
SBCC Foundation Director Geoff Green says programs to help incoming local students at Ventura College and Cuesta College are already in place for one year, but the plan in Santa Barbara would be for two years of full time studies.
The specifics are being worked out with some unanswered questions regarding the timeline for enrollment, and how to address other financial help a student may also receive.
Preliminary studies show the annual cost for the first year would be about $400-thousand. If donations are strong early on, there could also be a long term endowment to provide financial stability for the plan.
The return on investment to help local teens get into college, and eventually a four-year school, or right into a career directly after SBCC, is considered by educators as a great value to the community.
Green says he has been presenting this program concept to local educational and political leaders.
Students on the SBCC campus were expressive and even had suggestions when learning about the plan. Some wanted the free tuition to be linked to a student committed to a solid college timeline of learning, not a long term, part time student. Others said a specific grade point average would have to be maintained. Those aspects of the plan are in the discussion phase with details expected to be ironed out in the next few weeks.
A SBCC student, Jon Rodgers said, the idea was "great for the local students." He went on to say, "college would be open to everyone in this community and it would be really easy for someone to get education here. There wouldn't be any excuses as to why you wouldn't be able to college." Rodgers said all it would take is effort.
Teo Galati is studying to be a nurse and he said for those who would be shut out by financial issues, this would be a definite help. "Any time you don't have to pay for college and you get it for free, it will be way better down the line," he said.
The foundation hopes to have this plan ready for high school graduates to hear about before the end of this school year, and to have access to the program in time for the fall semester which begins in August.
More details are expected to be announced in the coming weeks.