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GO East L.A. Expands; Free Community College Launched

Efforts to get more Los Angeles students to college got a big boost this week with the launch of an initiative to give students a free year of community college, the expansion of the GO East L.A. to 25 more schools and the start of a 7-year program to get Nightingale Middle School students to USC. (see related story [1] by Stacey Arevalo.)

Under the program launched Tuesday by Mayor Eric Garcetti and the Los Angeles Community College District, high school seniors attending LA Unified schools will be eligible for one year of free community college tuition starting in 2017. The initiative was inspired by America’s College Promise — a campaign spearheaded by President Barack Obama and chaired by Jill Biden, the wife of Vice President Joe Biden.

 The GO East L.A. initiative kicked off its third year Tuesday at Roosevelt High School. (Courtesy of LA Unified School District) [2]

The GO East L.A. initiative kicked off its third year Tuesday at Roosevelt High School. (Courtesy of LA Unified School District)

L.A.’s initiative, dubbed L.A. College Promise, “is tremendous reason to celebrate,” said Biden during Wednesday’s launch.

“We are making a declaration — an assurance that you can attend one year of school tuition-free,” Biden said.

Eligible applicants must be part of the 2017 class of graduates and qualify for in-state resident tuition, and will need to complete their FAFSA or California Dream Act applications.

“Higher education should be within reach for every student in Los Angeles,” Garcetti said. “The L.A. College Promise is a path for every Angeleno to earn a high school diploma and pursue the skills and education they need to realize their dreams and potential.”

LACCD Board President Scott Svonkin said the one year of free tuition now being offered to 2017 graduates “is just the beginning,” and that the eventual goal is to provide free community college to all.

The majority of the students attending LAUSD schools are Latino and on Tuesday Go East L.A. —Great Outcomes East Los Angeles— kicked off its third year with a high-energy celebration at Theodore Roosevelt High School.

Designed to promote college readiness among students attending schools in East L.A. and Boyle Heights, GO East L.A. includes a number of initiatives, including priority admission to East Los Angeles College and California State University Los Angeles.

“We are thrilled to have student leaders from across the Eastside here with us today, because this is a day to celebrate,” Board Member Mónica García told students.

GO East L.A. was piloted at Garfield High School, four middle schools and 15 elementary schools. This year, the program expands to 25 additional schools including, seven new high schools.


Information from City News Service used in this story.