News Release

Santa Ana Partnership Announces Tuition-Free Freshman Year at Santa Ana College

*Unprecedented Initiative, Part of America's College Promise,
to Launch in Fall 2016*

(Santa Ana, CA) - For the past 33 years, the Santa Ana Partnership has developed a pathway from the earliest years in the Santa Ana Unified School District schools to Santa Ana College (SAC) and onward to a baccalaureate-granting institution. The partners in this audacious undertaking include Santa Ana College; the Santa Ana Unified School District; the University of California, Irvine (UCI); California State University, Fullerton (CSUF); as well as municipal, community, business, and parent organizations.

In fall 2015, the Santa Ana Partnership’s leaders made history when UCI’s Chancellor Howard Gillman, Ph.D., and CSUF’s President Mildred Garcia, Ed.D., renewed their commitment to guaranteeing university transfer to their institutions for SAUSD students who graduated high school and enrolled the following year at Santa Ana College. When ready for transfer these students would receive guaranteed admission to UCI and CSUF as long as they met the respective institution’s academic requirements.

Today the leaders of the Santa Ana Partnership have announced that this historic promise has been augmented to include a guaranteed tuition-free freshman year of college at Santa Ana College for all full-time students from the SAUSD. This program will take effect in fall 2016 and is part of America’s College Promise Initiative launched by the White House and the U.S. Department of Education last year.

With resident enrollment of $46 per unit, full-time enrollment in fall and spring semester for a full-time students is $1,104 and more depending on course load.

SAC President Erlinda J. Martinez, Ed.D., said, “This new level of support brings honor to the academic goals of our amazing students and will bring us ever closer to achieving a college degree in every home in Santa Ana.”

The program is made possible by increased funding from the Santa Ana College Foundation (SACF), a longstanding affiliate of the Santa Ana Partnership. The foundation is a registered non-profit 501(c)(3) organization which raises funds through the support of a 22-member board of directors to support the college and its students. The college will also support the program with funds it received from the State of California’s Award for Innovation in Higher Education last May and will add additional funds as needed from Santa Ana College’s Centennial Scholarship Campaign. The campaign, which is still underway, has raised over $1 million.

SACF President Ken Purcell said, “It is all about getting these amazing kids to the finish line - we are making history here in Santa Ana.”
SAUSD Superintendent Rick Miller, Ph.D., said, “This is another example of how our successful partnership with Santa Ana College, Cal State Fullerton, and UCI continue to provide unique opportunities to Santa Ana Unified students to make their dreams of college come true.”

“Community characteristics help define the challenges the Santa Ana Partnership faces and the enormity of this extraordinary offer of free tuition for the first year of college,” said Martinez.

According to the U.S. Census, 78 percent of residents age 25 or older do not have a high school diploma. Seventy-two percent of the city's residents speak Spanish at home, the highest proportion in the nation among large cities. Eighty-two percent speak a language other than English at home, the highest proportion in the nation. Santa Ana has the highest household density in California, with an average household size of 4.55 persons. Per capita income of $15,243 is half the state average and 19.8 percent of individuals live below the poverty level.

For more information about how to access free tuition for the freshman year at Santa Ana College for qualified students, contact Dr. Sara Lundquist’s office at (714) 564-6085.

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, 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. Visit to learn more. For information about Santa Ana College’s Centennial, please visit

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Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503