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Free Tuition for First-time, Full-time Students

Jun 1, 2019

Diablo Valley College is one of the top-ranked community colleges in the state. It has always been an outstanding choice for college and career training. Now there is one more reason to attend DVC. Our FT3 Promise program offers free tuition for first year students.

First Time + Full Time = Free Tuition (FT3)

Who is eligible?

You must be a first-time college student, defined as one of the following:
  • You must not have attended college before, excluding the summer prior to starting at DVC.


  • If you have college credits, those credits must have been earned prior to high school graduation. For example, the credits could have been earned by passing an AP exam or by taking a college class while in high school.
who ALSO completes all of the following steps:
  • Submit a District Pledge for FT3 prior to the deadline date.
  • Submit the FAFSA or Dream Act Application.
  • Complete an educational plan.
  • Complete at least 12 units for the fall or spring semester, earning a GPA of 2.0 or higher.
  • Courses taken during the summer term are not eligible.

How does it work?

Students who qualify will receive a refund of their enrollment fees after completing their first term. The students will then be enrolled in the program for a second term. If students again complete 12 units or more and earn a GPA of 2.0 or higher, they will receive a refund for the second term as well.

FT3 Promise students will also receive support services and resources. These benefits include priority enrollment, advising, and more. Students who qualify for federal or state financial aid may also be able to receive help paying for books, transportation, child care, and other expenses.

Lizette Ponthier“This program lifts the financial burden of attending college and allows families to manage other college costs with those savings. And, since the FT3 program requires completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or California Dream Act Application, students are considered for other types of financial aid. This can make college even more affordable,” said Lizette Ponthier, Financial Aid Supervisor at Diablo Valley College.

Ponthier notes that typically, only about one third of students submit the FAFSA or California Dream Act Application.

“Students and their families may opt to not apply for financial aid, thinking they will not qualify. Others may feel the process is too complex. By requiring students to apply for aid, students are able to opt into all of the financial assistance programs available to them. This can help students focus on their classes,” said Ponthier.

“The program also instills good habits. FT3 students must meet with a DVC counselor to develop a plan. They also learn to use key services such as tutoring and office hours. The program also supports taking at least 12 units in the first year. Research shows this leads to better student outcomes,” said Ponthier.

The FT3 Promise program was introduced for fall 2018, resulting in over 800 pledges from students. Students who completed the steps and were eligible for a refund of their fall tuition were notified in January. Freshmen who begin college in the spring term are also eligible for the program.


For additional information, visit or call DVC Welcome Services at (925) 969-2106.