BY CHELSEA HERNANDEZ
Dr. Joel L. Kinnamon, Ed.D. addresses faculty and staff. Photo courtesy of Marc Glassman
On Jan. 27, Dr. Joel L. Kinnamon, Ed.D., COD Superintendent/President introduced the COD plEDGE Program to faculty and staff. According to www.collegeofthedesert.edu, the new program will offer one tuition-free year to local high school graduates of 2017. In order to be eligible for the benefits of the one-year scholarships, the incoming COD freshman must apply to both state and federal financial aid, as well as being a full-time student.
Qualifying students will also be required to participate in a certain amount of work experience or community service hours and maintain a certain GPA. The goal of the program is to provide students with the support necessary to reach career and educational goals.
The plEDGE program aims to take away the burden of economic barriers that many students face their first-year of college, in order to better prepare them to transfer to a four-year institution or going into the workforce.
“For students who are not ready to transfer to a four-year [institution], coming to community college for the first time with guidance of the plEDGE program is going to be extremely helpful for them.” said TRiO ACES Program Director, Adell Bynum.
Although the new program has many positive benefits for students, some have concerns about its negatives. “It’s a nice thing to offer free tuition to incoming students, but it makes me wonder as a current student. The impact on the class availability and how the needs are not currently being met, in my opinion. It’s hard to get into core classes like chemistry and college level math with lack of faculty each semester,” said Steven Serrano, a COD student. Students are worried if this will be a future problem when it comes to supply and demand; however, over the past few years COD has been expanding its campus and has future plans with the 2016 Bond Measure CC.
More information and details will be provided in the near future. The deadline for current high school seniors applying to be apart of plEDGE is May 1. COD encourages future students to apply. For more information regarding the process of application, visit: www.collegeofthedesert.edu/students/EDGE/Pages/plEDGE.aspx.