San Bernardino community colleges now offering 2 years of free education

SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- Two community colleges in the Inland Empire are offering two years of free education to students in the San Bernardino area as part of a program called "The Free College Promise."

The announcement was made at San Bernardino Community College District headquarters, with Chancellor Bruce Baron making that promise to students.

"We will make your first two years of community college absolutely free," he said.

Community leaders, teachers, administrators and more than 100 students were on hand for the announcement, which was welcome news for many local students hoping to go to college but wondering how they're going to pay for it.

"In my family specifically, we talked about getting jobs on the side," said Kristyonna Fuller, a senior at Yucaipa High School.

Now, she's hoping she won't have to.

The San Bernardino Community College District says it's the first in the Inland Empire to self-fund a program that offers two years of free community college to students. Baron said the money comes from donations as well as funding they received from a recent FCC bandwidth auction.

"The district received some funds from moving our television and radio station to a different bandwidth," Baron said. "We said we were going to put those funds to good use for our students, and we decided to expand our promise."

Baron said the goal is to provide 1,000 students with free college at either of their two schools: San Bernardino Valley College or Crafton Hills College. The district said those colleges have a typical enrollment of about 4,000 students per year.

Priority will be given to graduates of Colton Joint Unified School District, Redlands Unified, Rialto Unified, Rim of the World Unified, San Bernardino City Unified and Yucaipa-Calimesa Unified. The district said all students need to do is apply at freecollegepromise.com.

But wait - is there a catch?

"No catch," Baron said. "It's here, we're here, we want you to come. No surprises."
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