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Spring is Free at the Peralta Community College District

OAKLAND, Calif., November 16, 2022 – Course registration fees are being waived for the Spring 2023 semester at all four of the colleges within the Peralta Community College District (PCCD) in the East Bay: Berkeley City College, College of Alameda, Laney College, and Merritt College. The fee waiver is available to all California residents – documented and undocumented – who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). There is no minimum course credit requirement.

Spring is Free” at the Peralta Colleges builds upon the successful “Fall is Free” campaigns which helped stabilize enrollment following declines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding for “Spring is Free” comes from the federal government’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF).  Nonresident and international students are not eligible for the fee waiver.

“Our Fall efforts in this arena were a great success, as students, particularly those from historically underserved communities, need all the help we can give them while they get an education that will build their earning power and enrich their lives,” says Laney College President Dr. Rudy Besikof. “I’m so glad our campus has come together with this important initiative. At Laney College this fall, we saw a 15% increase in students taking classes and a significant increase in financial aid awards thanks to nearly 20% more students completing the FAFSA.”

While each of the four colleges is offering the basic “Spring is Free” course fee waiver for US residents, each school is offering additional opportunities for students.

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At Laney, all students completing FAFSA or Dream Act will be able to receive lunches and food pantry items, technology (Chromebooks & WiFi hotspots), and parking.  In addition, residents, refugees, and undocumented students applying for financial aid or completing the Dream Act application will have tuition and fees, along with books, covered. For those taking 6 or more units, free AC transit passes are available. 

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At Berkeley City College, students who enroll in six or more units of in-person classes at BCC will be eligible for free parking and be able to apply for a $150 Clipper Card and a Spring to Success grant. Berkeley City College President Dr. Angélica Garcia commented, “We looked at the success of our Fall is Free program and got creative with ways to do more for our students with Spring to Success. Berkeley City College is pleased to remove the barriers to attaining higher education by expanding the benefits and widening the pool of eligible students. Building on our Fall efforts with a focus on completion can keep students connected to their career and academic goals.”

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College of Alameda is offering a $500 grant to students who take at least six units.  The grant can be used for books, supplies, or other expenses. “This is an extraordinary opportunity for our students and their families to save significantly on the cost of their college education,” said Acting College of Alameda President Dr. Diana Bajrami. “Whether they are planning to transfer to four-year universities, earn a degree/certificate or focus on skill building, students and our community members will find a broad selection of high-quality courses free of charge at College of Alameda this spring.”

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In addition to the course fee waiver, Merritt College, located in the Oakland Hills, is offering students a “Six for Six” incentive for students who enroll in six units at Merritt and complete the FAFSA, including a $600 grant, free breakfast, free parking, free hotspots, free Chromebook use, and free career assessment. “Merritt College puts students first,” said Merritt College President Dr. David M. Johnson. “We want to support students financially and lighten the load where we can. We took some inspiration from the Black Panther Party and their iconic ‘free breakfast for kids’ for our own free breakfast program this fall. We’re excited to keep that going for students this spring.”

Peralta Community College District Interim Chancellor Dr. Jannett N. Jackson noted “Last year, 44% of the approximately 28,000 students across our district took classes at more than one of the Peralta Colleges. The “Spring is Free” course fee waiver across the four colleges is one more way we are collaborating to benefit all the students in our East Bay district.”

Open Enrollment for the Spring 2023 semester begins on November 21, 2022. Students can visit https://home.peralta.edu/enroll to learn more and start the enrollment process. 

Tags: Merritt College, College of Alameda, Laney College, Berkeley City College


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