Reasons to Take Community College Summer Classes

Reasons to Take Community College Summer Classes

Summer is just around the corner and for some that may mean relaxing and recharging by going on camping trips or just hanging out with family and friends. But for others, summer break is a chance to catch up or get ahead in classes. Taking a summer class at a community college allows students to narrow their focus on a single subject – rather than your typical four, five or even six classes during the longer semesters. Although taking a summer class may not sound like a fun way to spend your summer break, taking these classes offer several major benefits. Here are some benefits if you are considering taking a summer class:

Benefit 1: You save money 

Whether you are a high school or college student, taking summer classes at a community college can save you money in the long run. Community college course credits are typically more affordable than those offered at universities. At a CC you may pay only a few hundred dollars or even less than that if you qualify for fee waivers. At a four year university, you may end up paying a few thousand dollars for the same course credit at a CC. Saving money is important even if you are still in high school. 

Additionally if you are a high school student and you want to get ahead in your coursework for college, taking summer classes at a CC may put you ahead of the curve when you apply to college. When you first start college, you will be placed at different levels of mathematics or english classes. To be placed in the correct level course, you need to take a placement test. If you took advanced placement or even college courses, these may count towards your college credits and you will be placed in more advanced courses. This is a benefit as you won’t waste time taking placement tests and in classes you already passed. 

Benefit 2: You are able to transfer to a four year institution or graduate faster

If you started your higher education at a community college your main goal may be to transfer in two years. For some fields, like STEM fields, transferring in two years may be challenging as there are many courses to complete. But taking summer classes can help you complete your courses faster and in turn, transfer to a four year institution faster. 

Since taking summer classes gives you the opportunity to earn more credits, this brings you closer to graduating faster. 

Benefit 3: You complete your core courses and/or are able to catch up on credits 

Summer semesters are shorter than your fall and spring semesters, this may be seen as either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you see this. It may be seen as a bad thing because it means you are learning a semester’s worth of material in five or six weeks. The plus side of this is that you are able to put all of your time and energy into a single subject rather than juggling multiple courses. So if you are dreading to take a challenging course during a long semester, consider taking it during the summer. 

Benefit 4: Opportunity to study abroad 

If summer vacation is about traveling and experiencing new things, why not do it while getting ahead in your studies? Many study abroad programs take place during the summer, and depending on that the school has to offer, it could be a great opportunity to both learn and travel.

California Promise Programs: Free Community College

California Promise Programs: Free Community College

What are college promise programs? 

College Promise Programs are commitments to fund a college education for every eligible student advancing on the path to earn a college degree, a certificate, and/or credits that transfer to a four-year university. These are additional programs that students can apply to and get at minimum their first two semesters of community college financially covered along with mentoring, summer bridge, and other academic support.

Who is eligible? What are the requirements? 

Eligibility ranges by the program. Some programs ask you to be a first-time college student and some do not. Another eligibility requirement can include GPA, family income, and the number of units being taken per semester (full-time vs. part-time student). These requirements vary by program, however, because California offers over 50 programs, it is certain you will find one for you!

How can I apply?  

To apply to a college promise, please follow Catalog of Local and State College Promise Programs to find the list of college promise programs that apply to you. In this list, the college promise programs are split between statewide and local programs. Statewide programs mean geographic eligibility allows students from anywhere in the state to apply, while local programs are open to only those students in the area.  This list includes the program description, requirements, and contact information.  

Here are two examples of statewide programs that may be open to you: 

Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan

  • Is available to California residents attending the state’s UC schools who have a total family income below $80,000 and meet other campus-specific grant aid requirements
  • Covers four semesters and can be used at UC Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Irvine, UC Los Angeles, UC Merced, UC Riverside, UC San Diego, UC Santa Barbara, or UC Santa Cruz toward a Bachelor’s degree
  • Provides support including textbook vouchers, transportation benefits, and housing assistance. 
  • Students can be part-time or full time 
  • For more information, visit or contact (800) 207- 1710 or 

The California College Promise Grant

  • Available to California students who qualify for at least one of the following: Cal Grant, an unmet need of $1,104 or more, is a current recipient of TANF/CalWORKS, (SSI/SSP), has certification/documentation from the California Department of Veterans Affairs, California National Guard Adjutant General, California Victim Compensation and Government Claims Board, or another public agency that you are eligible for a dependent’s fee waiver; or has a family income equal to or less than 150% of the federal poverty line
  •  The Promise covers four or more semesters and can be used at any of California’s community colleges for a vocational award or for the general education requirements needed for an Associate’s or Bachelor’s degree. 
  • For more information, visit contact (916) 327-5356 or

While these are just two of the many California College Promise programs, there are several others that can fit your location and needs. There are people and programs willing to help you as a first-generation college student, all you need to do is apply! College is for you.

Catalog of Local and State College Promise Programs (Pages 10-27) 

California Promise Programs Spreadsheet (List Doc, Statewide+Local) 


Why Graduation Rate Matters

The graduation rate of the college you are thinking of attending is an important factor. It can tell you a lot about the value of education at the college. 

A low graduation rate can indicate several reasons why the college may not be the best fit for you. Some reasons include a lack of student support services or guidance and a tendency to have students take more remedial courses. Make sure you do a bit of research before you commit! 


To learn more about why graduation rate matters, download this guide Why Graduation Rates Matter. Guide provided by DecidED 



Advancing College Opportunity for Justice-Impacted Students

Advancing College Opportunity for Justice-Impacted Students

Building a strong prison-to-school pipeline is necessary as we continue fighting for equal access to higher education. As more institutions begin to diversify their student populations and highlight the several student identities that tend to overlap, there is still one group that is often left out of many significant conversations — those who have been negatively affected by the carceral system. Formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted students are often left feeling unwelcome in spaces of higher education because of the many barriers present for them. Barriers to college access include background checks and inadequate student services, leading to a decrease in retention rates amongst this student population. A justice-impacted student includes someone at risk of being incarcerated or who has been formerly incarcerated, someone who has been legally, economically, or familially affected in a negative way by the incarceration of a close relative; this also includes people who have been arrested, and/or convicted without incarceration.


While it is important to note that higher-ed institutions still have a lot to learn when it comes to serving justice-impacted students, there are current programs already in place dedicated to helping such students succeed. These programs are essential and vital to increasing retention rates amongst formerly incarcerated and justice-impacted students. 


Here is a list of current programs available: 


CC Level: 

CA Community Colleges: Rising Scholars Network

To find further information on a specific Community College 

use this program directory to learn more:  

Rising Scholars Network Program Directory 


CSU Level: 

Currently, 14 CSU campuses have Project Rebound programs working with formerly incarcerated students. To find information on a specific college campus, scroll down to the bottom page 

Cal State University: Project Rebound


UC Level: 

Currently, there are 9 UC campuses that have the Underground Scholars Initiative working with formerly incarcerated scholars throughout the state. We have listed the main page to learn more about the program’s mission and history along with links to each UC chapter available across CA. 

The Underground Scholars Initiative 



Link to Join:



Bruin Underground Scholars Program Website:

Bruin Underground Scholars Program Email: 

USI UCLA Student Org Email:



Facebook: USIatUCI




Facebook: Underground Scholars Initiative, UCR

Twitter: @undergroundSch3



Facebook: Underground Scholars Santa Barbara 


Website: and









Intake Form:


Edith Ramirez, Underground Scholars Program Coordinator

    DACA August 2022 Updates & Resources

    DACA August 2022 Updates & Resources

    On June 15, 2012, an executive order created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) for immigrant youth. Individuals who meet a specific eligibility may apply to receive work authorization and protection from removal action. The program is subject to renewal every two years.


    Updates On Renewals

    • Renewals may now be filed online
    • First-time applications are not accepted
    • Advance parole is available

    **for more information visit & USCIS.GOV *

    July 6, 2022 Hearing

    • The DACA case of Texas v. The United States is still pending a final decision in a federal court in the Southern District of Texas. Arguments were heard on the case for the first time on July 6th. Legal experts believe this case will make its way to the Supreme Court. A long legal battle is still ahead for DACA!

    How Can Allies Help?

    DACA and Higher Ed

    • FACT: In CA you don’t need DACA to go to college or receive financial aid! Undocumented students can pursue a higher-ed with or without DACA in CA. 
    • Instagram Resource: @prepareweb