LTCC enters 2020 on an historic rise (Opinion) |

LTCC enters 2020 on an historic rise (Opinion)

Jeff DeFranco

As I enter the three-year mark as president of Lake Tahoe Community College, I am pleased to report to our community that the college continues to be on an exceptional path.

Enrollment keeps going up – a healthy sign that the many programs we’ve put in place to make college more affordable are working to improve access to education at LTCC.

Campus facilities are improving in noticeable ways, making for a safer, modern learning environment for all.

And, a number of large grant victories and generous donations this past year has made it possible for us to raise the bar even higher. In 2019 we expanded our college promise program, improved student support so more students complete their degrees, and developed a multi-year remodel plan that will result in upgraded science and art labs, classrooms, and key student service spaces on campus.

Here is a quick review of some of the great work accomplished at LTCC in 2019 that will benefit students and our community for years to come:

$10 Million Matching State Dollars for Campus Improvement

After a multi-year advocacy effort, LTCC learned this summer that it was successful in getting the state to provide $10 million worth of state funds to match local Measure F bond monies, allowing LTCC to double what it can spend to modernize and upgrade the Main Building.

This is LTCC fulfilling the promise we made to the community back in 2014 during our Measure F bond campaign, to capture resources from the state of California to match local taxpayer dollars.

During the next couple of years this extra funding will transform LTCC, providing needed health and safety improvements to campus labs and bringing modern technology, furniture, and classroom setups to the majority of campus.

Mobility Hub Opens

Thanks to Measure F funding, LTCC opened its Mobility Hub this fall.

This facility, located out front of the Main Building, allows for more consistent public transportation to LTCC’s campus, better bicycle parking, and it will become the go-to charging station for three electric buses that the Tahoe Transportation District is bringing online by Fall 2020.

All current LTCC students, whether full time or part, can use their student ID cards for unlimited free bus rides on the South Shore.

This hub is ushering in better, cheaper transportation for students while supporting local efforts to reduce gas consumption and emissions.

Lake Tahoe College Promise Program Expansion

Thanks to a combination of generous private donations, state funding, and the vision and hard work of LTCC’s Foundation, the Lake Tahoe College Promise program was expanded to provide up to three years tuition free for any first-time, full-time college student.

That’s enough time to realistically complete a college degree in and/or prepare to transfer to a four-year university.

It also provides critical student supports that are proven to encourage persistence and completion.

The Lake Tahoe College Promise is available to any California resident or Dreamer, or Nevada residents living within the Tahoe Basin. For more information, visit

Fundraising Success Transforming Lives

The LTCC Foundation, the fundraising arm of the college, received a $1 million donation to form the J. Stuart Haldan Scholarship Endowment, providing ongoing financial support for student scholarships for many years to come.

Even before this major donation, the Foundation had already hit an all-time high for student scholarship fundraising in 2019, allowing LTCC to help provide more scholarship funds than ever before.

The Foundation also received another donation from “Angel of Tahoe” Lisa Maloff, this time for a 30-seat passenger van that will provide transportation for LTCC’s soccer teams, student club activities, and increased student visits to four-year universities.

Affordable Student Housing

LTCC took a step toward addressing student housing issues by signing a five-year lease on a five-plex property on Aspen Avenue close to Ski Run Boulevard.

The $675/month cost per student covers rent, utilities, internet, snow removal, and weekly cleanings.

For longer-term relief from the local housing crisis, LTCC continues to serve as a leader and participant in the Tahoe Prosperity Center’s Workforce Housing efforts and is also undertaking local and statewide advocacy efforts to cultivate student and workforce housing policies and funding.

Enrollment Is Up, Including On Campus

Enrollment was up 13% from the previous academic year, and is now near its highest point in all of LTCC’s 45-year history.

We strongly believe that efforts to remove barriers to affording a college education are a big part of the reason behind this growth. Costs for tuition, textbooks, transportation, housing, child care and more can be a serious deterrent to many.

Increasing our Lake Tahoe College Promise to provide up to three years of tuition-free college removed another major barrier.

So did our providing free student transportation via TTD buses, along with ongoing efforts to make as many classes and degree programs textbook cost-free as possible.

This month we are rolling out a pilot program to provide discounted evening child care to LTCC student-parents as well.

LTCC is committed to eliminating as many barriers to education as possible, and we are seeing enrollment growth from these efforts at a time when many other California community colleges are experiencing either flat enrollment or decline – a very common outcome nationally at this time.

LTCC’s Women’s and Men’s Soccer Program Success

As you can see, we have a lot of reasons to feel pride this year at LTCC.

Here’s another one that our campus and community can celebrate together – the incredible ongoing success of our student-athletes.

The men’s and women’s soccer programs launched in 2014, and since then have garnered five Golden Valley Conference wins, three state Final Four appearances, and a slew of conference player awards to go along with many national All-America and Scholar All-America player recognitions.

We’re proud to announce that three of our women student-athletes, all of whom had 4.0 GPAs, earned Scholar All-America awards in 2019.

Two of our male student-athletes also had 4.0 GPAs.

Our sophomores are earning valuable scholarships to learn and play at four-year institutions because of their success on the field and off.

The coming year will be an ambitious one for LTCC, and I hope to be writing to you again soon with an update on the progress we’re continuing to make. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2020, Tahoe.

Jeff DeFranco is the superintendent/president at Lake Tahoe Community College. Visit his Twitter account at and email him at

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