News Release

Santa Ana College Promise Program Expands Reach to All Incoming Freshman and First-Year Students


​(Santa Ana, Calif.) – Santa Ana College has grown statewide. As part of the California Promise, a program established in 2018 by the California Community Colleges, which offers high school graduates the opportunity to attend select community colleges tuition-free for the first year, Santa Ana College (SAC) is now waiving enrollment fees for all incoming, first-year students in the Golden State, effective Fall 2021.

The expanded SAC Promise program, funded by the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, applies to Spring 2021 high school graduates, or any incoming first-year students, regardless of which high school they attended. Other qualifying criteria include attending a SAC Promise orientation; being enrolled full-time, with a minimum of 12 units; submitting either a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California DREAM Act Application; and meeting with a counselor to develop a comprehensive education plan.

While all nine community colleges in Orange County have a California Promise program, none are as unique as SAC with its remarkable history of making a similar promise to local students. In 2011, SAC partnered with California State University, Fullerton, University of California, Irvine, Santa Ana Unified School District and the City of Santa Ana to create the original SAC Promise Program, an initiative that guarantees students who meet certain criteria the ability to transfer to these distinguished four-year universities, and free tuition for first-time college students. Originally, the program was available only to high school seniors from Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD) enrolling as freshman at SAC.

Interim SAC President Marilyn Flores, Ph.D., said she hopes the California Promise will provide more students in our community the opportunity to attend college regardless of their socio-economic status. “Our goal is to eliminate as many barriers for our students so that they can have access to higher education and are able to obtain their academic and career goals,” Dr. Flores said.

“This is an opportunity for the SAC community and beyond to have access to a free, quality education. Through the Promise Program, we believe in our students, current, past and future,” Dr. Flores states. “We believe our students can all be high-achievers and helping them afford the vehicle to a quality education is what they deserve, no less.”

Leo Pastrana counselor-instructor for SAC Promise Program.jpg 

   Pictured:  Leo Pastrana, counselor/instructor for SAC Promise Program    

“We’re extremely proud to extend the SAC Promise to all California high school graduates and Santa Ana residents,” said Vaniethia Hubbard, Ed.D., Vice President of Student Services at SAC. “This is an extraordinary program designed to create pathways to college for first-year students and accelerate the path toward achieving their educational goals. In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, this is a huge opportunity for the Santa Ana residents to enhance necessary skills leading to a second career.”

“SAC is a one-of-a kind higher education institution that infuses compassion and commitment with the highest academic standards while ensuring students have the vital resources necessary to succeed,” Dr. Hubbard added.

In addition to free tuition the first year at SAC, all Promise participants are eligible to receive a loaner laptop, bookstore gift cards, and individual support from Promise staff. The SAC Promise is designed to increase college completion, affordability and successful transfer to a four-year university.

The combined benefits have made the SAC Promise Program a success. Sheccid Huerta,19, is currently participating in the SAC Promise Program. The first-generation college student is in her second year at SAC, studying Criminal Justice, and is getting ready to transfer. She said this program was one of the determining factors in her choice of community college.

“The reason I chose to attend SAC was because of the benefits this program has to offer,” Huerta said. “I come from a low-income family, so it’s definitely a valuable source of support in my education.”

Huerta said freshmen who are debating where they begin their college career should consider SAC.

“The SAC Promise Program is amazing, especially the staff. They’ve helped me a lot and are really committed to supporting students with their academics.”

For more information about the SAC Promise Program, email , or visit:

SAC Public Affairs contact: Teresa Mercado-Cota
(714) 564-6105,

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which turned 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, and provides invaluable workforce training and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 11,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top, two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the College is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.

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Contact: Ruth Cossio Muniz

Phone: (714) 564-5201