College of the Desert Extends Tuition Free Program

A program offering free tuition for Coachella Valley kids to attend College of the Desert campuses has been extended to include students graduating in 2019, the college announced today.

The plEDGE program was launched in the summer of 2017, and provided free tuition for about 1,000 valley high school students that year, according to College of the Desert.

Unanimous approval from the Desert Community College District Board of Trustees extends the program to include students graduating through the 2018-19 academic year, which COD officials say will alleviate financial obstacles to higher education.

“We do not want the cost of college to prevent students from pursuing a higher education,” College of the Desert Superintendent and President Joel L. Kinnamon said. “This program helps remove some of the economic barriers to entering the first year of college while also providing critical guidance, skills and support that is essential to students achieving their educational and career goals.”

More than 1,300 local high schoolers who graduated this year are enrolled in the plEDGE program, which COD officials say is supported entirely by donors.

“The plEDGE is a powerful commitment to the educational and economic futures of our students, college and community,” Kinnamon said. “We are so grateful to all who contributed or will contribute to our plEDGE campaign making college possible for every local high school student who wants to pursue the dream of higher education.

“Our message is clear: If you want to go to college, you can at COD.”

To be eligible for the plEDGE program, participating students must commit to full-time enrollment during the fall and springs semesters, maintain good academic standing, participate in 10 hours of community service, take part in mentoring or internships, and participate in the college’s EDGE (Engage, Develop, Grow, Empower) summer program before their first semester.

Eligible students must have attended schools in either the Coachella Valley Unified, Desert Sands Unified, Desert Center Unified, or Palm Springs Unified school districts for at least one year and one day, according to COD’s website.

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