LTCC to offer free, first-year tuition for local high school grads, on-campus housing | SierraSun.com

LTCC to offer free, first-year tuition for local high school grads, on-campus housing

Claire Cudahy
ccudahy@tahoedailytribune.com

There are major developments in the works at Lake Tahoe Community College.

At the State of the College Address on Thursday, Sept. 14, LTCC president Jeff DeFranco spoke about the steps the college is taking to make it easier for students to succeed in higher education.

“We need to remove the barriers for our students for access and success, of which there are many barriers … they are going to have to give up wages to come back to school, they may have transportation or child care issues,” said DeFranco to a crowd of students, faculty and other stakeholders in LTCC’s Duke Theatre.

DeFranco announced that the college is bringing on a “promise program,” which will give qualifying graduates from South Shore high schools free tuition for the first year, along with other support services to encourage college attendance and completion.

“Our current plan is to work with our foundation, who has already said they will support this, work with our board of trustees, and work with all of you so we can launch this for our fall of 2019 students,” said DeFranco.

Since last August, the number of California schools offering these place-based programs has jumped from 24 to nearly 50, he added.

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“This may be the most important program that we ever take on.”

LTCC is also making strides in developing on-campus student housing. A third-party assessment revealed that there was demand for a 100-bed housing unit.

“One of our goals is to secure that private developer by the end of the academic year and get a contract with them, so we can bring that in and hopefully no later than fall ’22 open residential living on this campus because we know that housing has become tighter in this community,” explained DeFranco.

Another barrier the college is working to overcome is transportation.

Starting in early October, Tahoe Transportation District in partnership with ADVANCE — a collaborative network of local organizations working to support community education — will be offering all LTCC students free bus passes. It’s a pilot program that will last at least a year.

Additionally, there are plans in the works to construct a transportation hub on campus, including a bus shelter and covered bike parking.

Increased library hours, strengthening of WiFi across campus and three revamped “prototypical” classrooms are other projects in the works, said DeFranco.

DeFranco revealed these improvements just three months after LTCC broke ground on its new university center made possible by South Lake Tahoe resident Lisa Maloff’s $5.8-million donation. The 7,000-square-foot building will house four classrooms, two larger rooms for events, a lobby, restrooms, offices and meeting spaces. It will also open up opportunities for more four-year-degree programs.

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