What is the California College Promise Program?
The California College Promise Program provides free tuition to students who attend a community college for the first two years of their education.
To qualify for the California College Promise Program, you must meet the following criteria:
- You must be a California resident or AB 540 eligible student (the California Dream Act waives enrollment fees for non-resident “Dreamers”).
- You must be a full-time student.
- You must be a first-time student.
Not all community colleges provide free tuition as part of the California College Promise Program. Accordingly, application processes vary between institutions.
If you’re interested in taking part in the Promise Program, take the following steps:
- Find a school offering free tuition via the Promise Program. This community college locator can help.
- Confirm your school’s eligibility criteria for the Promise Program. Eligibility criteria may include:
- Proof of California residency (or Dream status)
- Confirmation of first-time student status and full-time enrollment
- Completion of the CADAA or FAFSA
- Proof you aren’t eligible for the California College Promise Grant (see below for more information)
- Apply via your school. Most schools offer an online application process and (assuming they participate in tuition-free Promise Programs) will give you the option to indicate whether you want to take part in the program during the application process. For example, California’s Coast Colleges use this proprietary online system.
If you take part in your school’s Promise Program, you must maintain eligibility by maintaining a grade point average (GPA) minimum of 2.0 and maintaining your full-time status. You may be required to meet with a counselor to outline your educational plan and ensure you are keeping or exceeding the GPA minimum.
What Is the California College Promise Grant?
The California College Promise Grant pays community college fees for low-income California residents attending community college in the state.
This grant is available regardless of the number of units the student takes (e.g., you aren’t cut off after two years). Students are eligible for this grant even if they’ve been studying already.
To qualify for the California College Promise Grant, you must be a California resident or AB 540 eligible student (the California Dream Act waives enrollment fees for non-resident “dreamers”). Further, you must demonstrate financial need.
Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan
UC's Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan will ensure that you will not have to pay UC’s systemwide tuition and fees out of your own pocket if you are a California resident whose total family income is less than $80,000 a year and you qualify for financial aid — and that's just for starters.
Blue and Gold students with sufficient financial need can qualify for even more grant aid to help reduce the cost of attending.
How to apply: FAFSA/California Dream Act Application + Cal Grant GPA Verification Form (you will be automatically considered when you submit these forms by March 2; there is no separate application for this program)
- Submit a FAFSA or California Dream Act Application and Cal Grant GPA Verification Form by March 2
- California resident or have AB 540 status
- Demonstrate total family income below $80,000 and financial need, as determined for federal need-based aid programs
- Be in your first four years as a UC undergraduate (first two for transfer students)
- Meet other campus basic requirements for UC grant aid (for example, be enrolled at least half-time during the academic year, meet campus academic progress standards, not be in default on student loans, etc.)