‘Passport to College’ students seeing success 10 years later

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In 2006, Delta College introduced the Passport to College program offering 12,000 fifth graders a promise of two years of free tuition.

Families interested in taking advantage of the program were required to attend yearly meetings in order to receive the free tuition.

“From being a part of this program, I have gained significant intellect and education that I would not have had the opportunity otherwise … helped me in shaping a realistic career path,” said Peter Creasman, “I am a completely different person because of the education the Passport to College program has allowed me to participate in.”

Students are funded for up to three years.

“This program made me very prepared to attend a four-year university, especially since I’ll be attending UC Santa Barbara. I’ve also gotten many letters of recommendations and I also have more appreciation to work hard,” said Hailey Hepperle, a Passport to College student.

Many students tend to not know what career path or field they should get into upon entering college.

“Choosing a major and career that will affect the rest of your life is a very hard and stressful thing to do in the short span of 2-3 years, especially for young people who are concerned they are making the right decision,” said Creasman,“The absence of financial stress and opportunity to enroll in numerous classes trying to find my passion to was truly a blessing.”

Eight years after the birth of the program, 1,049 passport students enrolled as first time freshman at Delta.

“This Spring, 84 Passport to College students are candidates for graduation, the majority of which enrolled two years ago,” said Ginger Holden, Interim Dean of Planning, Research and Institutional Effectiveness, “The focus of the program has always been the promotion of student achievement.”

The Delta College Board of Trustees approved a $2.25 million loan agreement to the Delta College Foundation in order to honor the Passport to College Enrollment fee payment commitment on October 16, 2012. The loan will be paid off over time by the Foundation’s operation of the Delta Market.

The program succeeded in the 84 students set to graduate this month.

“This will always be a part of my life. I really grew as a person. It’s a really good program,” Said Hepperle.

Bethany Davis, another Passport to College student, said the program made Delta worth the drive from her home in Calaveras county.

“I enjoy this program a lot. I am super grateful to be in this program,” Davis said, “I had to keep up within an eight-year commitment to stay in the program.”