August 3 Deadline Approaching for Free Tuition Program

San Diego Miramar College student Dana Maristela graduated with a 4.0 GPA after enrolling in the San Diego Promise free tuition program. (Courtesy of SDCCD)

Don’t pass up your chance to secure two years of tuition-free college. That’s the message from  San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College and San Diego Miramar College where the August 3 deadline to sign up for the San Diego Promise program is fast approaching.

More than 2,000 students have already signed up for the groundbreaking, tuition-free program at California’s second-largest community college district for the 2018-19 academic year. To qualify, students must be a California resident or have attended a California high school for three years and have earned a high school diploma in June 2017 or later; be a first-time college student; enroll in at least 12 units; and complete a 2018-19 FAFSA or Dream Act application. All who meet the criteria and commit to a full-time course of study in the program will be accepted.

Students can complete a San Diego Promise interest form for City, Mesa or Miramar College at

“We want students to fill out a San Diego Promise interest form by August 3 so they will have plenty of time to apply for admission at either City, Mesa, or Miramar colleges, meet with a counselor to develop their education plan, and take part in a campus Promise orientation before classes begin August 20,” said Lynn Neault, SDCCD’s Vice Chancellor of Student Services. 

Because of the academic counseling, educational planning, and other services, as well as the opportunity to receive assistance for instructional materials provided through the program, San Diego Promise students are faring better than non-Promise students in meeting their educational goals. The average GPA for an African-American Promise student this past year was 3.33, nearly a full point above the 2.37 average GPA for other first-time, full-time African-American students. In addition, 19 percent of San Diego Promise students had a 4.0 GPA last year, compared to 12 percent of other first-time, full-time students. Promise students are also progressing along their educational pathway at a faster pace than students not participating in the program.

Launched as a pilot program in 2016 with 186 students, the San Diego Promise included 661 students at City, Mesa, and Miramar colleges during the just-completed 2017-18 academic year. The expanded program will cost an estimated $1.86 million in 2018-2019, with participating students’ first year funded through an allocation in the state budget called the California College Promise, and students’ second year underwritten through an SDCCD-led fundraising campaign.

As the second-largest of California’s 72 community college districts, the San Diego Community College District serves approximately 100,000 students annually through three two-year colleges and San Diego Continuing Education.  The three colleges, San Diego City College, San Diego Mesa College, and San Diego Miramar College, offer associate degrees and certificates in occupational programs that prepare students for transfer to four-year colleges and entry-level jobs.  Mesa College also offers a bachelor’s degree in Health Information Management.  Continuing Education offers noncredit adult education at seven campuses throughout San Diego.