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Citrus College Promise Program Offers Free Tuition, Academic, and Personal Support for First-Time College Students

Monrovia High graduate Yesenia Bugarin is pursuing an associate degree in business administration with the help of the Citrus College Promise program.

By Mary Ann Lutz
Citrus College Governing Board Member

When Yesenia Bugarin graduated from Monrovia High School in 2021, there was no question that Citrus College would be the next step on her academic journey. “I saw how much support my older sister had received as a Citrus College student, so I was encouraged to apply,” she says.

Within a few short months, Yesenia had successfully settled into life as a college student. The 19-year-old business administration major credits much of her smooth transition to the Citrus College Promise program. Designed to remove barriers that hinder academic success, the Citrus College Promise increases access by covering enrollment costs and other expenses, such as health services, student representation and GoPass transportation fees. However, Yesenia says that monetary assistance isn’t the program’s only benefit.

“The Citrus College Promise not only relieved me of financial burdens, it also ensured that I maintain a good academic standing,” she says. “It has offered me many opportunities to gain professional skills, and the program’s completion specialists consistently reach out to make sure I’m on track. They do their best to support their students one-on-one.”

Individualized support and guidance have been key elements of the Citrus College Promise since the program’s debut in 2018. Valuable members of the Citrus College Promise team, completion specialists ensure that students maintain their program eligibility and make progress toward their academic goals.

To become part of the Citrus College Promise, eligible students must finish the Citrus College Early Decision program or complete the onboarding process for another student support program. Other requirements include submitting a FAFSA or California Dream Act application, declaring a course of study/major, maintaining a minimum of 2.0 GPA, completing a student education plan, and completing college/transfer-level English and mathematics.

After joining the program, students not only have all of their enrollment fees paid, they also receive a $100 textbook voucher. All of this support and guidance is provided throughout the student’s first two years at Citrus College.

Although originally limited to graduating high school seniors, the program expanded last year to include all first-time students who have never attended college and are California residents/AB 540 eligible. As a result, more students can now benefit from the program. In fact, there are approximately 1,000 students currently participating in the program.

“I would recommend the Citrus College Promise program to other students because, aside from the financial and academic assistance, the program helped me feel like I belonged at Citrus College,” Yesenia says. “The program encouraged me to take advantage of all the school’s resources and to finish my associate degree in two years.”

As Monrovia’s representative on the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees, I am proud of Citrus College’s efforts to increase access and remove barriers to higher education. I am confident that the Citrus College Promise program will continue to provide excellent opportunities for the many first-time college students in our community.

- Brad Haugaard

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