‘Fulfilling the Promise’ at Lake Tahoe Community College (Opinion) | TahoeDailyTribune.com

‘Fulfilling the Promise’ at Lake Tahoe Community College (Opinion)

Jeff DeFranco
Lake Tahoe Community College Superintendent/President Jeff Defranco speaks during his State of the College address.

Fall quarter is underway at Lake Tahoe Community College, where the promises we’ve made to our students and the South Shore community are being realized.

A year ago, I wrote a column on LTCC taking charge of its future through intentional disruption — tackling broad initiatives and making sweeping changes that are needed now, without waiting for a state-level directive. This promise to our community – to make necessary decisions and fully embrace change for the betterment of our students – is yielding results. In my State of the College address earlier this month, I described how we are “Fulfilling the Promise.”

We are fulfilling our promise to break down barriers to education

These certainly include tuition costs, but also textbooks, transportation, housing, and other costs that challenge students’ ability to persist in school, or even end their thinking about attending college at all. We’ve made significant progress on all fronts, which has boosted LTCC’s enrollment by 13% just from last year, hitting a 10-year high.

Thanks to a mix of generous donations and state funding, the college’s newly expanded Lake Tahoe College Promise program now provides up to three years tuition free for any first-time, full-time college student. That’s enough time for students to earn a college degree or credential. The Promise program is available to any California or Nevada resident or dreamer living within the Tahoe Basin.

The LTCC Foundation, the fundraising arm of the college, just got a huge boost to its scholarship endowment campaign thanks to a $1 million donation from the J. Stuart Haldan Scholarship Endowment.

The Foundation had already hit an all-time high for scholarship donations earlier this year, allowing LTCC to help more students than ever before. The Foundation also received another donation from the “Angel of Tahoe” Lisa Maloff, this time for two 30-seat passenger vans that will support our soccer teams, student club activities, and increased student visits to four-year universities.

LTCC now has seven academic departments offering degrees that can be earned without a single textbook purchase, with more coming. Every class offered by LTCC’s Math Department is 100% textbook-cost free. We’ve also continued to build out our Textbook Lending Library, making even more books available for free.

Two years ago, LTCC introduced free, unlimited bus rides on the South Shore for all LTCC students. We’ve enhanced that through a partnership with Tahoe Transportation District to bring a Mobility Hub to LTCC’s campus.

This just-completed facility provides more consistent transportation to LTCC’s campus. It will become the go-to charging station for three electric buses that TTD is bringing online in Fall 2020.

We are fulfilling our promise to make LTCC a modern, world-class hub in the community, and a home for affordable advanced degrees

We continue to modernize our campus thanks to the Measure F bond that taxpayers passed in 2014. And though it took a lot of door knocking in Sacramento to pull off, LTCC successfully got the State of California to match $10 million of local Measure F funding. This doubles the amount we can spend on modernizing classrooms, science and art labs, the Disability Resource Center, the counseling area, and more. It means that no matter where our students are learning on campus, they’ll have the most modern educational experience possible. This was our promise to the community in 2014, and LTCC is delivering on that promise.

We continue to grow the offerings at the Lisa Maloff University Center (LMUC) on campus, bringing more affordable advanced degree and credentialing programs to the South Shore. We have also successfully fundraised in order to provide LMUC scholarships to LTCC students, making their dreams of an advanced degree earned right here on campus a reality. Our newest educational partner, Washington State University, just launched its bachelor’s program in Hospitality Business Management at the LMUC. This provides thousands of people around the basin who work in hospitality industries with an avenue for growing in their field and advancing in their careers.

We’re fulfilling our promise to make navigating LTCC easier and clearer than ever before

LTCC developed an enrollment management program called “Tahoe Clear” that makes a student’s path from start to completion – whether that means a degree, credential, transfer to a four-year school, or any other educational plan – just as clear as the crystal waters of Lake Tahoe. Multiple efforts are underway that now make the LTCC experience more streamlined and easier for students.

LTCC’s combined class schedules are another effort to give students the information they need to access college more easily. With our combined Summer/Fall schedule in May, our South Tahoe High Viking seniors were able to plan and register for Fall quarter at LTCC before they’d even graduated high school. That only serves to motivate them to stick to their game plans and go to college.

There is much more to tell. Hear all of the great news happening at Lake Tahoe Community College by visiting http://www.ltcc.edu/SOCA for this year’s State of the College address.

Jeff DeFranco is the superintendent/president at LTCC. He can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jeffdefranco or email at president@ltcc.edu.

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