A student aid program is now covering the first two years of tuition for all first-time, full-time community college students at three campuses in San Diego. The San Diego Promise program announced Monday that it is dropping all other requirements for aid at San Diego City College, Mesa College and Miramar College.
The program started two years ago with a pilot size of 186 students. The following year, it had nearly 700 students and it expects to serve 3,500 this fall with the expansion.
Some of the old requirements for aid that were dropped Monday include filling out a Federal Application for Free Student Aid or FAFSA, maintaining a certain GPA and community service.
David Evelo is one beneficiary of the program, he thinks offering the aid to more students will keep people in school and strengthen the workforce.
“It’s great, more students are going to want to stay in school and they are going to have a greater skill set,” Evelo said.
Evelo, a recent graduate of the program, has had to overcome a lot to get where he is today. A bike accident broke both of his legs, which lead to unemployment and eventually homelessness.
“I couldn’t go back to the regular line of work that I was doing,” Evelo said. “So, I really had to change my skill set to make myself employable.”
The San Diego Promise program did just that and now Evelo is heading to the largest and oldest university in the county.
“SDSU, I’m going to ‘State,’ finishing up there and then going to law school,” Evelo said.
The program is also getting support from award-winning actress Annette Bening. Bening, a Screen Actors Guild award-winner for her role in “American Beauty”, is a graduate of Mesa College.
Bening is hosting a fund-raising gala for the program this September.