Cuesta College, in partnership with the College Promise Campaign, will host a Promise Panel on February 2, 2017, from 10:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., on the San Luis Obispo Campus in room 5401.

The goal of the event is threefold; to discuss the success and impacts of the Cuesta College Promise Scholarship, which provides a fee-free first year to all recently graduated San Luis Obispo County high school seniors; the Cambria Promise, which currently covers second-year Cuesta College enrollment fees for all graduates of Coast Unified School District high schools; and the nationwide movement to provide tuition-free community college to all. Panelists include retired Raytheon Company Chairman & CEO and Cuesta College Honored Alum Bill Swanson, Cuesta College Superintendent/President Dr. Gil Stork, and Coast Unified School District Superintendent Dr. Victoria Schumacher. The event will also include Promise Scholarship recipients, local industry representatives and educational partners.

“Providing a full year of fee-free higher education to our county’s students has made an incredible impact on our community,” said Cuesta College Superintendent/President Dr. Stork. “Since 2014, the number of local high school students enrolling at Cuesta College has doubled to more than 40 percent, allowing more first generation students to obtain a college education. We now want to expand upon that success and start a dialog on how we can continue to break down the barriers to accessible and affordable college education while also meeting the needs of local industry.”

Retired Raytheon Company Chairman and CEO William "Bill" Swanson knows the value of an excellent community college education. "I believe that Cuesta College can train more students who are already here in San Luis Obispo County for the jobs employers need to fill, benefitting both local industry and local students," said Swanson, a Cuesta College class of 1969 alum and College Promise Campaign National Advisory Board member. "All across the country, cross-sector and bipartisan leaders are working together to build College Promise programs, delivering debt-free education to hardworking community college students. Over 190 such programs have emerged in 40 states, including the Cuesta Promise here in San Luis Obispo. This kind of investment is good for business and the community. We should build on our success by investing further in this important program."

The public is invited to attend the Promise Panel; complementary parking will be provided in parking lot 2. Those interested in attending can RSVP by visiting bit.ly/promisepanel2017, and obtain more information by calling the Cuesta College Foundation Office at (805) 546-3279.

The Promise Scholarship. Launched in the fall of 2014, the Cuesta Promise Scholarship is the result of an $8 million private donation from the Charles and Leeta Dovica Family Trust. More than 2,100 San Luis Obispo County high school students have received the Promise Scholarship, saving students an average of $700 per semester by paying for the per-unit cost of classes and various other fees. For more information on the Cuesta Promise Scholarship, which is currently open for application the 2017-18 academic year, click here.

The Cambria Promise. Launched in the fall of 2016, an anonymous private donation of $20,000 to the Cuesta College Foundation has advanced the Cuesta Promise Scholarship to include a second year fee-free to all recently graduated high school students of Coast Unified School District (CUSD). A total of 21 CUSD 2015-16 Promise Scholarship recipients are currently receiving a fee-free 2016-17 academic year at Cuesta College; all recently graduated CUSD seniors can receive a fee-free first year at Cuesta via the Cuesta Promise and a fee-free second year via the Cambria Promise. For more information on the Cambria Promise, click here.

College Promise Campaign. The College Promise Campaign is a national, non-partisan initiative of the 501c3 nonprofit Civic Nation. The Campaign seeks to build broad support to guarantee a community college education for hardworking students across the country via coalitions of key leaders across multiple sectors, researching the best practices and models currently implementing free community college across the nation, and organizing grassroots support through its Heads Up America campaign. For more information, click here.


Lauren Milbourne / (805) 546-3108 / Lauren_milbourne@cuesta.edu / (805) 546-3108