Your Local California Community College Is Here for You
By: Lizette Navarette, Interim Deputy Chancellor, California Community Colleges
Imagine paying the bills each month without stressing over what’s in the bank. Going to work each day to do something you find stimulating. Coming home to spend time with your family, enjoying the evening without dreading the next morning.
Seem impossible? It’s not. It’s a life much more common among people who have the education required to succeed. And that could be you.
Life has changed so much in recent years, in good ways and bad. You’re not alone in wanting something to look forward to. Leaning into your future, even charting a new path, can feel really good.
As you think about what’s next, remember that your local California community college is ready to help. Whether you are thinking about finishing a degree or starting a new one, picking up skills to help you grow, or moving your children out of the house, we are prepared to meet your needs. While community colleges have always been a great deal, they are now better than ever. No need to give up your job or radically change your life to get some more education or training—there are all sorts of options to make college your way possible.
Of course, that starts by making things easy on your wallet. The rent must be paid, and food must be on the table while you’re learning, so community colleges now offer “basic needs” centers to help with the essentials. No need to run around town trying to find financial assistance; just go straight to the college and learn about financial aid as well as public benefits and cost-cutting programs to help make ends meet. Get started by filling out a FAFSA or California Dream Act application, which will help determine financial aid eligibility. Fortunately, the deadline this year has been extended to September 5, giving you an extra weekend to apply.
As a first-generation American and advocate for student success, I know it can be a big help to have someone by your side to help you navigate through finding the right classes to avoid wasting time. That’s especially true when you’re juggling parenting, working, or other responsibilities along with college—it’s normal to be overwhelmed. As the Interim Deputy Chancellor of California Community Colleges, I can tell you that support is available. California community colleges now receive state funding to provide you with a dedicated guide to college if you return to school.
There’s no perfect age or situation required to be a community college student. You don’t need high grades or test scores, it’s fine to have more life experience than college credits in hand, and you’ll still be welcomed even if you feel a bit like an imposter. You belong – after all, you are the “community” in community college.
Some programs take a few months, others a year or two, but in the end, the economics are very clear — going to community college pays off. Graduates of community colleges earn more money, enjoy more financial stability and better health, and are more likely to send their own children to college. That’s why California built these valuable institutions, 116 in all, and it’s why millions of your friends, neighbors, and family members attend them. So why not join them, and invest in yourself and a brighter future? There’s no better time than now. Visit www.ICanGoToCollege.com today for more information on how to make a brighter future for you and your family.