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“SRJC for Free” helps students continue college education during the pandemic

Santa Rosa Junior College’s (SRJC’s) “SRJC for Free” initiative, first established in 2018 with the goal of helping students pursue their community college education tuition-free, has since become a pivotal resource for many who may not otherwise continue in the face of the ongoing pandemic. Since its inception, “SRJC for Free” has provided nearly $11 million in tuition for first time, full time students.  At a time when many in the local community have lost jobs and are under increased financial strain, this additional resource has proven critical for many students’ continued success.
 
SRJC student Chandler Holdbrook said, “With Covid happening, school has definitely changed. They helped me pay for my books, which took so much stress off me having to work overtime so I could pay for them.”

“SRJC for Free” is funded by a combination of the California College Promise Grant, the Assembly Bill 19 Promise Grant, and the SRJC Doyle Scholarship. Now, eligible students can receive two full years of tuition reimbursement, totaling an average savings of $2,200. Students can use this reimbursement to pursue an associate’s degree, participate in a certificate program or obtain the units necessary to transfer to a four-year institution, tuition-free.
 
Interim Director, Student Financial Services Rachael Cutcher said that by completing a financial aid application, high school students from the graduating class of 2021 are automatically considered for “SRJC for Free”, regardless of income. “We hope that by breaking down these barriers, we can help more students achieve their dreams of higher education,” she said. “All students should have access to this opportunity, without worrying about the cost.”
 
SRJC student Eric Guzman Leyva said, “Financial aid gives me a safety net to build a strong future.”

Who is eligible? 
First-time college students are eligible regardless of financial need and second-year students are eligible if they were also eligible during their first year. It is not required that they received funding for the first year.
 
“SRJC for Free” recipients must:

  • Be California residents or AB 540
  • Be enrolled in 12 units
  • Currently not receiving the California College Promise Grant
  • Have completed a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application (CADAA)
  • Other restrictions may apply

SRJC Doyle Scholarship 
The SRJC Doyle Scholarship program provides financial assistance to eligible students who graduated from high school in the current school year with an unweighted grade point average of 2.0 or higher. This assistance, totaling up to $1,200 per student is available for eligible students who enroll full-time at SRJC and is a key component of the “SRJC for Free” program.
 
Doyle Scholarships are funded by the Frank P. Doyle and Polly O’Meara Doyle Trust. Since 1950, more than 139,000 students have received Doyle Scholarships, totaling more than $90 million. More information on the Doyle Scholarship and other scholarships is available at scholarships.santarosa.edu.
 
Applying for Scholarships 
Students can apply for financial aid at the links below:

SRJC will also be offering online “Cash for College” workshops through March 1. Information is available at https://financialaid.santarosa.edu/cash-college-0. All students who sign in and attend one of the remaining workshops will receive a $10 SRJC bookstore credit, which will be available in fall 2021.
 
More information on free college is available at srjcforfree.santarosa.edu.
More general information on financial aid is available at financialaid.santarosa.edu.

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