Two Years Free

Due to a reduction in state funding for 2021-2022, Two Years Free will be awarded on a tier system of first-come, first-serve priorities. Please see the FAQs below for details and other eligibility requirements.

Do You Qualify for Two Years of Free Tuition?

Your first two years of tuition could be free! We want to remove financial barriers, so all students are able to pursue higher education. There is no income requirement. See additional eligibility requirements

Follow these steps to qualify:

To learn more, view our Free Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Two Years Free?
Two Years Free is Sierra College’s nickname for the CA State Promise Grant which covers the cost of tuition for eligible students. You may also hear it referred to as California Promise or AB-19 (Assembly Bill 19) and AB-2 (Assembly Bill 2).

What does Two Years Free cover? 
Your tuition (the cost of your class units); $46 per unit. 
 
What does Two Years Free NOT cover? 

  • Health Center fee
  • Student Center fee
  • Books
  • Transportation
  • Living expenses

Who is eligible for Two Years Free?
Students who are California residents and are first-time students. Second year is reviewed for all students who received their first year free under this program. Students receiving their second year must opt in to the program again through mySierra.

What does it mean to be a California resident?
Please check out our Residency Requirements to see if you would be considered a California resident.

Who is considered a "first-time” student?

  1. Students coming directly from high school, or
  2. Students who attended adult school to complete their high school graduation requirements, or
  3. Students who have never attempted college units

Am I still a first-time student if I earned college credit while in high school or while attending adult school to complete my high school education?
Yes! College credit earned while in high school or adult school does not affect your eligibility for Two Years Free as long as you haven't yet earned a degree or certificate. Students who earn a college certificate or degree while in high school would not be eligible for this tuition waiver.

What is the tier system for awarding Two Years Free for 2021-2022? 

  1. In-district students* who filed their Financial Aid application by March 2 and opt-in to Two Years Free by June 1, 2021.
  2. In-district students* who filed their Financial Aid application by between March 2 - June 1 and opt-in to Two Years Free by June 1, 2021.
  3. Out-of-district students who filed their Financial Aid application by March 2 and opt-in to Two Years Free by June 1, 2021.
  4. Out-of-district students who filed their Financial Aid application by between March 2 - June 1 and opt-in to Two Years Free by June 1, 2021.
  5. In-district* or out-of-district students who filed their Financial Aid application after June 1.

* The Sierra district includes all of Placer and Nevada Counties. Sacramento County schools include Antelope High School and Center High School. El Dorado County schools include Divide Continuation High School and Golden Sierra High School.

What steps do I need to complete to get Two Years Free?

  1. Complete the 2021-2022 FAFSA or 2021-2022 California Dream Act application by March 2, 2021. Include the Sierra College school code: 001290
  2. Opt in by June 1, 2021 for the school year of 2021-2022.
  3. Must enroll in 12 or more units by add/drop date found on academic calendar

If you are a transfer student and graduated from one of our district high schools* who received their first year free, we need official transcripts from all previous colleges attended. Those can be sent two ways:

The Sierra district includes all of Placer and Nevada Counties. Sacramento County schools include Antelope High School and Center High School. El Dorado County schools include Divide Continuation High School and Golden Sierra High School.

Why are 15 units recommended if the full-time requirement is 12 units?
Lots of reasons!

  • Proven greater success rate
  • Faster time to your end goal
  • Hit the job market sooner
  • More opportunities for financial support (specific programs and scholarships)
  • Fewer student loans
  • Best of all, you’re maximizing the number of units you get free!

What happens if I am allowed to enroll in more than the allowed 18 units per semester?
If you meet all other eligibility requirements, your tuition will be covered.

What if I don’t qualify for FAFSA or the CA Dream Act?
That’s ok! There is no income requirement or restrictions for Two Years Free. We simply need you to complete these applications so we can verify eligibility for any other financial aid first.

What if I don't want to do the FAFSA or CA Dream Act application?
You would not qualify to get Two Years Free.

How long can I receive Two Years Free?
Two Years Free is specific to summer > fall > spring for up to two (consecutive) years.  

  • Within this time frame, you can receive the tuition waiver for any term that you are in 12+ units.
  • You must receive this tuition waiver for at least one term (summer, fall, or spring) in your first year and complete your first year in good standing in order to get your second year of tuition waived.

Since this waiver timeline starts in summer, does that mean I have to take summer classes? 
No, you don’t have to take summer classes. If you do, you need to be in 12+ units to get your tuition waived. This is not common – be sure to speak with an academic counselor if this is something you want to pursue. If you take less than 12 units, you would pay the cost of tuition for summer. This would not affect your eligibility for future terms.

What if I am eligible for Two Years Free, but take less than 12 units in the fall? Am I still eligible for spring?
Yes. You would need to pay for fall units yourself. If you are in 12+ units in spring, you will receive this tuition waiver. If this is your first year, you must enroll in 12+ units in at least one term in order to be eligible for the second year free.

What if I don’t start classes until the spring? 
Your spring term would count as your first full year. 

If I take a semester off or enroll in less than 12 units, can that extend my two years to a future term?  
No. Your Two Years Free time clock starts as soon as you enroll in college units and you have up to two years to receive this tuition waiver.  

Year 1 = summer > fall > spring or fall > spring or spring only

  • Your tuition will be waived for any term that you are in 12+ units
  • You would pay for any term that you are in less than 12 units
  • You must enroll in 12+ units in one of these terms in your first year and complete in good standing in order to be eligible for your second year

Year 2 = summer > fall > spring

  • Your tuition will be waived for any term that you are in 12+ units
  • You would pay for any term that you are in less than 12 units

What if I received the California College Promise Grant (CCPG) my first year but I am not eligible for it my second year?
You will receive a second year free under AB2 funds. 

If I go to a Sierra Promise partner high school, do I have to sign up as a Sierra Promise Scholar to get my Two Years Free? 
No, but we recommend it. Being a Sierra Promise Scholar gives you priority registration for your first term and gives you access to additional support and resources. Learn more about Sierra Promise.  

If I opt-in to become a Sierra Promise Scholar, do I automatically get opted into Two Years Free?
No. These are two separate opt-in choices. Opt in to Two Years Free by June 1 for the upcoming year.

Where can I see if I have completed all the steps to get Two Years Free?
Log in to mySierra. Your status is displayed under “Steps to Getting My Tuition Paid For”.

When can I opt in for fall 2021/spring 2022? 
The opt in option will be available in your mySierra account starting April 1.

I have completed all of the required steps. Why do I still see fees in my mySierra account?
Two Years Free award notifications will occur between June and September. If awarded, you will continue to see a balance in your mySierra account until the third week of school (after census, also known as add/drop period). If you are still eligible at census, your tuition will be waived. A remaining balance may represent the Student Center and Health Center fees.

If I already paid, and I have completed all of the required steps, when will I get a refund?
As long as you remain eligible, refunds will begin two weeks after the add/drop deadline listed on our academic calendar.

What happens if I am issued a refund but fail to cash my check?
The check will be voided. Before a new refund is issued the Financial Aid Office must check to ensure you are still eligible and have not withdrawn from courses. 

Is there a final deadline to become eligible?

  • On June 1, 2021, we will begin awarding students according to our tier priority structure and continue awarding until funds run out. 
  • Units have to be completed within each term

Do I have to complete 30 units in my first year? 
No. But we do recommend taking as many units as you can complete successfully to maximize your free tuition opportunity. 

What if I drop below 12 units before the add/drop deadline (census)?
You would not be eligible for Two Years Free and will be held responsible to pay for all tuition and fees on your own.

If I withdraw from units after the add/drop deadline (census), do I have to make up those units to stay eligible?
Maybe. You need to maintain Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) to stay eligible and unit completion may affect that.  We recommend speaking with the financial aid office and/or your academic counselor before withdrawing from classes. Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

If my tuition has already been paid by Two Years Free and I now need to withdraw from a class, will I owe anything backWill it affect my eligibility for the following term?
No, you will not owe anything back. 

If you fail or withdraw from ALL fall classes, you might not meet Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress, which could affect your eligibility for future terms.  You still need to be in 12+ units (at census) for each fall and spring term to meet the unit requirement.

Also, we recommend speaking to a counselor before withdrawing from any classes.

If my Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is in “Warning Status” after semester grades post, am I still eligible for Two Years Free the following term?
Yes, as long as you are still within your Two Years Free window of time and enrolled in 12+ units each term (at census).

If my Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is in Termination Status after grades post, am I still eligible for Two Years Free the following term?
Perhaps. You would need to appeal to receive a second year free under Financial Aid Satisfactory Progress appeal process.  Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

I am a member of the armed forces. What happens if I get called to duty?
Under AB 3137, students who are obliged to withdraw because of active duty shall not count toward the limit of the period of that student's eligibility for participation in the Two Years Free program. Students will need to provide a copy of their orders calling them up during the time they had to withdraw.

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