FT3 brings free tuition

Perry Continente, @perrycontinente

First time students in the district will be able to attend school with no tuition charge this fall and spring in conjunction with the “First Time Full Time Free Tuition”, or FT3, a program that waives per unit fees for first time students enrolled full-time.

Executive Vice Chancellor of Education and Technology Mojdeh Mehdizadeh championed the program and is excited for its implementation.

“We implemented this pretty fast,” said Mehdizadeh who explained that this would provide opportunities to students who otherwise wouldn’t have access to education. An example of one such student is Contra Costa Community College District Chancellor Fred Wood who is a graduate of a community college program himself.

Wood was ecstatic about the program, “we’re back!” he exclaimed.

Wood then spoke of his own experience with affordable education, “when I went down to the union hall to get my union card my dad said ‘please go to college’ and I know that the only reason he said that was because it was free.”

LMC President Bob Kratochvil was enthusiastic about the implementation of the program as well, “Mojdeh took the lead on [the program.]” said Kratochvil before remarking about the large number of new students and the happiness on their faces.

The program will lighten the load on students in the district coming as per unit prices are reaching their highest point in recent years at $46 per unit, whereas in the year 2000 they were a comparatively tiny $11. This means that taking a full-time load of 12 units in the year 2000 cost $132 per semester while today it costs $552.

First year Student Luis Ruiz was interested in the program and the benefits it could offer.

“I’m not taking 12 units so I can’t use it,” said Ruiz, “but I have friends that are taking 12 units who are in worse financial situations than me.”

Many students have taken advantage of the service with reports stating that district wide over 1200 students have taken advantage of the program with over 250 at LMC.

To apply students need to be enrolled in 12 or more units and maintain a 2.0 GPA as well as complete a pledge/application to FT3 as well as apply for financial aid and complete an educational plan no later than Sept. 10 2018. Students need to have Fall or Summer semester 2018 be their first semester in college with no prior postsecondary educational experience. Students who maintain their 2.0 will either be reimbursed or have their outstanding fees for the semester be waived for fall and spring semester. For more information visit www.4cd.edu/ed/cp/.