Hancock students stockphoto

Free tuition and fees for Santa Maria high school graduates through Hancock College's Promise program has now been expanded to all full-time students, regardless of residency, in the Promise Plus program.

Any full-time student attending Hancock College during the next two years will have the chance to receive free tuition and fees through the new Hancock Promise Plus program.

The new program is an expansion of the Hancock Promise, which allows high school graduates in the Allan Hancock Joint Community College District to access up to their first two years at the college free of tuition or fees.

However, Promise Plus is open to all full-time students regardless of residency or documentation status, including first-time, continuing, returning, transfer, international and concurrent enrollment/College Now! students, according to spokesman Chris McGuiness.

Students must take at least 12 units including at least one in-person class to qualify for the program, funded entirely by the college's $15.8 million American Rescue Plan Act 2021 allocation. 

“Over the past year, we recognized the impact the pandemic had on many of our students,” Hancock Superintendent and President Kevin Walthers said. “With the Promise Plus program, Hancock is helping change the odds for students by offering a path back to stability. This is not only a great way to support our students, but it’s also an amazing investment in our community.”

As students register for the fall 2021 semester, which begins Aug. 16, they can take advantage of Promise Plus by submitting an application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California Dream Act and accept the Promise Plus award through their online student portal, according to McGuinness.

Those who have already registered and paid enrollment fees for the fall will be refunded if they qualify for the program, and students with existing scholarships also qualify.

Students also can receive in-person assistance with class registration at the Santa Maria campus and Lompoc Valley Center from 2 to 6 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays until Aug. 10.

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Santa Maria City Reporter

Originally from the Pacific Northwest, Laura Place covers city government, policy and elections in Santa Maria and Santa Barbara County. Follow her on Twitter @itslaurasplace

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