Friday, October 2, 2015

New Scholarship to Offer Free Year of Community College

Smiles Abound as the Higher Edge Scholarship is Announced
Can college really be free?

It can for our students under a new scholarship program announced this week in which all qualifying graduates of Grossmont Union High School District schools will be offered a free year of classes at Grossmont or Cuyamaca College.

The scholarships, known as the Higher Edge, will first be offered to Class of 2019 graduates within the Grossmont Union High School District.

In addition to the scholarships, high school students will be offered support services and opportunities to explore careers to help them discover a field that excites them and obtain the education they need to meet their goals.

The Higher Edge scholarship program is the first in San Diego County to offer high school students a year of free community college classes. It was created through the East County Education Alliance, a partnership between the GUHSD and the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District.

Students who qualify for the scholarship will be able to take up to 30 units of college coursework without paying a fee, normally $46 a credit unit. They will also receive a free laptop, and free tutoring, counseling, support services, and student success workshops.

A college degree has become increasing important both for the East County workforce needs and for students. Studies have found that by 2021, about 15,000 of the jobs in East County will require at least an associate degree or advanced technical training. And community college graduates earn on average $560,000 more in their lifetimes than someone with a high school diploma.

This is an incredible opportunity for our high school graduates. Every graduate can now have college and career training within their grasp, no matter their economic background.

To qualify for the scholarship, students must have lived in the high school district for at least two years, have at least a 2.0 grade point average, and obtain their diploma from a GUHSD high school. They are also required to fill out a federal financial aid form, begin college within a year after they graduate from high school, and take at least six credit hours of college classes per semester.

To help the new graduates be successful, they also must undergo an orientation and assessment and develop a plan for their college education. Scholarship recipients will also be expected to complete a summer program before starting at Grossmont or Cuyamaca that will better prepare them for college.

Although scholarships will not be available to current juniors and seniors in the GUHSD, they will be eligible for free tutoring, counseling, support services and priority registration through the Leading Edge scholarship.

The scholarship program will cost about $500,000 a year, and much of the money for the first year has already been raised. To donate, go to

District Advisory Council (DAC) Parent Forum on 10/6

Please join us on Tuesday, October 6, 2015,  from 6:00 p.m. - 6:45 p.m. at the District Office where I will deliver a State of the District report at the District Advisory Council meeting. This forum is open to all parents of the Grossmont Union High School District. Representatives from all parent groups on all campuses are encouraged to attend, including PTSA, PTO, ELAC, foundations, school site councils, parent booster organizations, etc.

The District Office is located next to Grossmont High School at 1100 Murray Drive in El Cajon.

Superintendent Ralf Swenson