Cerritos College on Tuesday announced the expansion of a program that will give two years of free tuition for underserved students.
The school, which is located in Norwalk, is one of a 13 colleges to offer the first two years of free tuition to students through the Promise Program.
The college's Cerritos Complete program has been in existence for five years and was offering one year of free tuition for those who qualify. The program has been expanded to pay for applicants' two years of tuition. Previously funded by local dollars, the program is now funded through AB 19 and includes more districts near the college. The program is now also available to athletes and those who have a high school equivalency, said Raquel Lizarraga, coordinator for educational partnerships at the school.
Cerritos Complete not only covers the $2,000 tuition fee, but also offers participants early enrollment, one-on-one counseling and advisement.
“Every single one of our students is able to attend college regardless of their financial situation, immigration status, regardless of their background,” Cerritos College President and Superintendent Jose Fierro said during a news conference on the campus.
"We have been able to open the doors to Cerritos College for over 2,500 students through our Promise Program," he added. "It is not only important for us to remove the financial barriers for our students to attend college, but to make sure that they graduate and they transfer to their desired academic institution.
Destiny Islas said she has been blessed to be a part of Cerritos Complete.
“I never thought I had a chance to be at this point where I am today, in being successful,” she said during the news conference. “My younger self will be proud of where I am today.”
Juwairiah Uraizee said she began at Cerritos thinking she wanted to be a psychology major, but has discovered her calling is in political science, a realization she attributes to Cerritos Complete.
“I am really lucky, and I was able to meet so many amazing individuals that have helped me understand my true capabilities as a person and as a student here at Cerritos College,” she said.
More information about the program and how to apply is available on the Cerritos Complete section of the college's website.