Two Years Free FAQs

GENERAL INFORMATION

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, California College Promise or AB-2 (Assembly Bill No.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


ELIGIBILITY

Who is eligible for Two Years Free?
Students who are California residents and first-time students. Second year is reviewed for all students who received their first year free under this program.

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 have never attempted college units

Am I still a first-time student if I earned college credit while in high school?
Yes! College credit earned while in high school does not affect your eligibility for Two Years Free.

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

  • Opt-in to Two Years Free in your mySierra portal
  • Complete the FAFSA or CA Dream Act application for all required years
  • Enroll full-time in fall and spring (12 units required, 15 recommended).

* If you are a transfer student who received their first year free, we need official transcripts
   from all previous colleges attended. Those can be sent two ways:


CLARIFYING COMMON ELIGIBILITY QUESTIONS

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.  


PROCESSES AND TIMELINES

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”.

I have completed all of the required steps. Why do I still see fees in my mySierra account?
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. See the academic calendar for specific date.

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?

  • Units have to be completed within each term
  • The FAFSA and/or CA Dream Act applications have many deadlines.  For Two Years Free, students starting in a fall term must complete the appropriate application by the last day of fall classes.  For students starting in a spring term, the appropriate application must be complete by the last day of spring classes. 

We will continue to monitor your eligibility weekly throughout your first year to see if you become eligible, which could result in a refund of tuition for qualifying terms.


UNIT COMPLETION, WITHDRAWS AND REPAYMENTS

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.

What happens if I file my FAFSA or CA Dream App after grades post and some/all of my grades are substandard? 
The Financial Aid Office will check for earned units to ensure you are still eligible.  This program will not cover tuition if you have posted failing grades or withdrew before we were able to issue this fee waiver.     Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress Policy

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

Details

Article ID: 74045
Created
Mon 3/18/19 4:39 PM
Modified
Tue 11/5/19 3:17 PM