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Rancho Cordova Students Get Free First Year Of College

RANCHO CORDOVA (CBS13) — More than 100 Rancho Cordova freshmen will be attending Folsom Lake College this semester for free for the first time.

Megan Pinnell won't have to worry about how she's going to pay for her first year of college. The city is the first in the area to create a college promise program offering free tuition to all of its 440 high-school graduates who enroll at Folsom Lake College.

"If you want to go to college, we're going to help you do it," said Rancho Cordova Mayor Donald Terry.

It's a big relief for the 150 high-school graduates who have signed up.

Terry says removing economic barriers helps build a better workforce.

"We have a lot of business and jobs in our city; unfortunately a lot of our residents don't have the education and background to get those types of jobs," he said.

Tuition comes from the city's Community Enhancement Fund—funded by a half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2014. Supporters say safeguards are in place to make sure the money is well spent.

"We've got checks and balances," said Brian Robinson with Folsom Lake College. "The students have to maintain a minimum GPA; they have to take a certain number of units in order to qualify."

The hope is investing in today's teens will benefit the city's future.

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