The Grossmont-Cuyamaca College Promise offers free tuition to first-time students attending college full-time. For many students, the Promise offered them a path to college. Here is the story of one Promise student.
A student at both Grossmont and Cuyamaca colleges, Juan Soto
dreams of transferring to a University of California or California State
University campus, earning a bachelor’s degree in music theory and launching a
career as an educator working with public schools to develop strong music
Those dreams would be dead if it weren’t for the Grossmont-Cuyamaca College Promise, a program providing two years of free tuition for first-time, full-time students at either college.
“It would have been hard going to college without the Promise,” Soto said. “Even if I would have been able to go, I would have been taking cell phone pictures of the pages in a textbook, because I wouldn’t be able to afford them.”
Instead, Soto is the first in his family to go to college. A percussionist who also plays the keyboards, Soto is well on his way toward reaching his dream; he performs with the Cuyamaca College Concert Band and has immersed himself in music theory and more.
“The music programs at both Grossmont and Cuyamaca are great,” he said. “And the people are here to help you.”
One of four children, Soto is living with his single mom who works a pair of low-paying jobs to make ends meet. When he heard about the Promise while attending Monte Vista High School, Soto said it made the decision to attend college a big ‘no-duh’ and eliminated the need of having to work full time, which would have diverted from his studies.
“The Promise gave me an opportunity - an opportunity to go to college,” Soto said.