Lake Tahoe Community College free tuition program extended to Nevada students | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Lake Tahoe Community College free tuition program extended to Nevada students

Lake Tahoe Community College is offering free tuition for first time students starting this fall.
Bill Rozak / Tahoe Daily Tribune

A program that grants one year of free tuition to California students at Lake Tahoe Community College has been extended to students on the Nevada half of the lake, making LTCC the only college in the country to offer such a program.

The program’s expansion, made possible by a few key donations, reflects the college’s belief that the Lake Tahoe Basin is one single community, according to a press release. It brings LTCC a step closer to realizing its goal of serving the entire basin.

“With this expansion, LTCC is breaking down those barriers to access that so many Tahoe residents face,” LTCC Superintendent/President Jeff DeFranco said in the press release. “The goal from the start was to have a promise program that aligns with our mission of serving the Lake Tahoe Basin in its entirety. We are one basin, one lake, and one community, and we’re proud to offer a free year of college to anyone who lives along Lake Tahoe, despite which state they live in or when they might have graduated from high school.”

The program was first rolled out ahead of the start of the current semester thanks to California Assembly Bill 19, which allows for one-year of free tuition for any first-time student of any age who enrolls in 12 or more semester units at a community college.

Since the “promise program” was established, the college has looked to see how it can expand the program. Nevada has a similar program but it is currently only available to the high school graduating class of 2018, and it requires applicants to be under the age of 20, according to LTCC.

“It’s a good program, but it can’t help all of the older adults on the Nevada side,” said DeFranco. “We have thousands of adults working in service industry jobs in Tahoe, often two or three jobs at a time, who could hugely benefit from a Promise program and college education. For our community, it was crucial that LTCC’s Promise program provide access to any Nevada resident in the Basin, even if high school was a long time ago for them.”

An anonymous donation of $200,000 from a Nevada resident in the basin, along with an $18,400 donation from the Edgewood Tahoe through a partnership with the American Century Championship allowed for the expansion into Nevada.

To be eligible, students must be enrolled in and complete 12 or more units each quarter for up to three academic quarters. The program is open to all California residents, all California Dreamer students who are eligible through California Assembly Bill 540, or any Nevada resident of the Tahoe Basin.

While the program goes along way to helping make education more attainable, there are still numerous financial hurdles.

“The college promise is a great start,” DeFranco said. “But one year is not enough time for students to earn a degree in. Even California’s best and brightest students struggle to get an associate degree in two years. Pushing towards a two-year, tuition-free Promise is the right thing to do for many reasons. LTCC also must further its own promise to our students by continuing to build clear pathways that allow them to complete on time, and to keep providing the entire array of support services that we know can help boost completion rates and assist more people in reaching their academic goals.”

Contact LTCC Foundation Executive Director Nancy Harrison at 530-541-4660 x. 245, or email Harrison@ltcc.edu, or visit http://www.ltcc.edu/giving to make a donation to the program. To find out more about the program, visit http://www.ltcc.edu/promise.