Mesa Mayor John Giles and Mesa Community College Interim President Lori M. Berquam recently announced that the first Mesa College Promise eligible high school graduates will receive funding to attend MCC beginning with the fall 2021 semester.
Each student accepted into the program will have their own academic advisor, an orientation plus career and financial aid advising. Also, students receive all the free MCC services such as tutoring, parking, counseling, job skill assistance and the food pantry, according to a release.
The Mesa College Promise is a commitment from the city of Mesa to residents that eligible graduating high school students, who reside in Mesa, may apply to attend MCC for two years with Arizona resident tuition and fees fully funded.
This flagship program within the Maricopa Community Colleges covers tuition and fees remaining after funds from the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or other scholarships are applied. Eligibility includes a 2.0 or better high school GPA and Mesa residency. Full details, criteria and applications are available at mesacc.edu/mesa-promise.
“The pandemic is affecting everyone, including the students toiling to complete high school online. I’m pleased we’re able to offer the Mesa College Promise program to some of these extraordinary students — our future Thunderbirds,” MCC Interim President Berquam said in the release. “The combined efforts of the city of Mesa, businesses, teachers, parents and caregivers to support the future of these students is commendable. Our goal is to be the source of possibilities, whether it is earning credentials to enter the workforce, an associate’s degree or transfer credits to a university. We are opening doors for the next generation of community college learners.”
Introduced in Mayor Giles’ 2020 State of the City address, the Mesa College Promise program was recommended by the city’s Mesa Achieves Higher Education Task Force on which MCC leadership served along with representatives from the city, businesses and community organizations. Mesa College Promise addresses another task force recommendation, which is that the City of Mesa joins more than 40 government entities and 1,000 business and education organizations in adopting the state Achieve60 goal that by 2030, 60% of Arizonans will have earned post-secondary credentials.
“Many of the outstanding corporations and industries who have chosen to move to Mesa shared they did so because of our skilled employees and educational opportunities,” Mayor Giles said in the release. “Expanding and continuing to educate our workforce is vital to attract future industry. In addition to government grants and funding, businesses and corporations are contributing to the Promise program. It’s a win-win investment in skilled, educated employees and leaders. Mesa is proud to be the first in Arizona and one of nearly 50 nationally to offer a college promise program.”
The city of Mesa leads the charitable commitment with a financial promise of $100,000. Mayor Giles issued a challenge to businesses and philanthropists to match $100,000. Donors to the Maricopa County Community College District Foundation continue to rise to this challenge – building a base to support and grow this transformational program. Student funding is awarded through the Foundation and made possible through the generous contributions of more than 10 businesses and individuals and federal CARES act funding, the release states.
“I invite others in the community to step up and donate to Mesa College Promise as well,” Mayor Giles said in the release.