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CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8 | cbs8.com

Gov. Newsom expands Promise Program for community colleges

The program will now provide free tuition to community college for first and second-year, full-time students.

SAN DIEGO — A burden has been lifted for California high school graduates after Governor Gavin Newsom expanded the Promise Program which provides free tuition to community college students.

The program will now provide free tuition to community college for first and second-year, full-time students.

On Tuesday, Governor Newsom visited Cosumnes River College, in northern California, touting the expansion of the California College Promise Program.

“We want to make that mindset, similar mindset that you get an education not just through high school. Now, you can get that two-year degree and a pathway to your future,” he said.

RELATED: Free community college tuition in California: Who qualifies?

Miramar College is in its second year of providing free tuition to two-year students. 

Luis Diaz, who is a "Dreamer" and a first year Miramar College student, is studying to be a firefighter. He is also the first in his family to attend college.

“We were in a low-income situation so going to college was going to be really hard, especially paying for tuition, books and all that. I was really stressed at how I was going to make it through,” he said.

The San Diego Community College District, which includes City, Mesa and Miramar College, is already in its second year as part of the California College Promise Program. The college district already waves tuition to second year students through private donations.

“With this new additional funding we were able to also extend and expand funding that wouldn't be utilized for the textbooks for these students who are in most financial need,” said Sonny Nguyen, Miramar Associate Dean.

More than 3,000 students in the SDCC use the Promise Program, which can serve as a pipeline to a four-year university.

“I originally wanted to go straight into a four-year college, but thinking realistically that wasn't super possible,” said Josh Talbot.

The expansion of the program has many students like Talbot and Diaz dreaming big.

“I want to give back the community in the same way. It might be risky, but sometimes you have to be out there for people,” said Diaz.

Community colleges can opt out, but all San Diego County community colleges are participating in the Promise Program.

The expansion of the Promise Program will cost the state $42 million. There is also a Promise Program for low-income students.