Newsom signs bill to allow San Mateo County residents attend community college for free

The article below originally appeared in the San Mateo Daily Journal and is being reprinted with permission.

A bill to allow all San Mateo County residents to attend community college here for free was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom.

“It was a team effort and hopefully it will have a great impact for people in our county who may not have otherwise gone to college,” said John Pimentel, a member of the San Mateo County Community College District Board of Trustees, who was one of the main proponents of the legislation.

Under SB 893, crafted by state Sen. Josh Becker, D-San Mateo, with support from Assembly Speaker pro Tem Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, and State Assembly Marc Berman, D-Palo Alto, the state would allow the San Mateo County Community College District to waive a mandatory $46-per-unit enrollment fees for nearly 6,000 San Mateo County residents, allowing those interested in enrolling in classes at one of the community college district’s three campuses to attend for free.

The program is slated to begin immediately after the law goes into effect Jan. 1, in time for the spring semester, Pimentel said.

Students who prove financial need by completing a Free Application for Federal Student Aid form or a version of the form for undocumented residents would also be exempt from paying health, student body, student representation, student union, inclusive access and materials fees.

SB 893 would expand on the district’s established efforts to make community college accessible to underserved students through its Promise Scholars Program that offers about 2,000 students districtwide financial, counseling and academic support.

The district’s ‘Promise Scholar Program’ has helped thousands of students facing financial hardships over the years be able to afford a quality community college education, Becker said in a press release, adding that there is now a chance to help every student in the district by shouldering that financial burden for them.

“Attending college is more expensive than ever and students, fresh out of high school, who have worked so hard throughout their academic careers are faced with an enormous financial decision,” Becker said. “Do they take out loans? Do they get another job? Should they live at home longer? Should they go to school at all? This law will let the SMCCCD remove a significant number of roadblocks for these students and make their decision to get a quality education a whole lot easier.”

Enrollment fees to attend community college in the state have not always been a part of the institution’s history, Chancellor Mike Claire and Pimentel noted during an event at Cañada College in Redwood City last week to rally support for the governor to sign the legislation. When they attended community college in the early ’80s, Claire at Cañada College and Pimentel at San Joaquin Delta Community College, neither of them paid enrollment fees, they said.

Determined to get a version of the bill passed, Becker said he and his team decided to create a piece of legislation that was “laser focused” on giving San Mateo County residents the opportunity to attend community college for free without additional state funds or local taxes.

The district has set aside $6 million in the 2022-23 budget for the program’s implementation which is expected to cost about $4.7 million next semester, Dr. Richard Storti, executive vice chancellor for Administrative Services, said during a meeting in late August. San Mateo County supervisors also allocated $2 million toward the effort.

During the summer, district trustees also agreed to waive student health and parking fees and parking permit citations for the 2022-23 school year, saving students between $700,000 and $770,000 combined, according to a press release. That initiative was finalized by the board early this month when it adopted an updated budget in which $2 million was allocated toward offsetting revenue loss from the program.

Study in Florence Next Semester

Immerse yourself in Italian life and culture while you spend next semester in Florence, Italy! Travel abroad with classmates and Cañada Professor Paul Roscelli while you earn UC/CSU transferable credits.


Date: Thursday, September 22, 2022

Time: 10:00 am – 11:00 am

**ZOOM: Register here to attend the meeting or to receive the recording**


Apply Online:

*Priority application closes Friday, September 23, 2022*

*Final application closes Friday, November 4, 2022*


Schedule your advising session:

Connect with SMCCCD Study Abroad at or Professor Roscelli at


There are several opportunities to apply for scholarships to study abroad.

SMCCCD Study Abroad Scholarship

The SMCCCD Study Abroad Program offers SMCCCD students the opportunity to apply for the SMCCCD Study Abroad Scholarship to use towards the cost of a Study Abroad Program.

Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship

Some students may also be eligible to apply for the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship, which awards up to $5,000 to study or intern abroad. Next Gilman Scholarship Application Deadline: Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Learn more at

Schedule your Scholarship Advising Session:

Call or email us at (650) 738-7098 or

Also, don’t forget to check us out on Instagram! @smcccd_study_abroad

Masking Recommended But Not Required

San Mateo County’s current COVID Community Level is LOW, and face masks are strongly recommended but not required while indoors any SMCCCD facility. As the San Mateo County community level changes, information will be provided to students, employees, and visitors.

As a reminder, the updated masking requirements, as outlined below, are effective until further notice, and apply to all students, employees, and visitors, regardless of vaccination status. Masking requirement signage will be posted throughout all campuses.

CDC COVID Community Level SMCCCD Face Masking Requirement
LOW Face mask is recommended, but not required.
MEDIUM Face mask is required while indoors in any District facility.
HIGH Face mask is required while indoors in any District facility.

To track the San Mateo County’s COVID Community Level, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Free Groceries for Students at SparkPoint!

COVID-19 forced the SparkPoint Food Pantry to close in March 2020 and it remained closed for 2 full years. We re-launched this service this past spring and we are excited to share that from between March 22 and June 30, 2022, we distributed 33,487 pounds of groceries. Unlike our Drive-Thru Grocery Distribution, the SparkPoint Food Pantry only serves students. This means that our students saved an estimated $49,369.30 on grocery costs during this time, which is money that can go to other important expenses such as books, gas, rent or saving for the future.  This represents a great start for this new iteration of the SparkPoint food pantry and we plan to try to get back to a pre-pandemic level of service by the end of the fall semester.

The SparkPoint food pantry is currently open Monday-Friday and offers free groceries to all students!   If you know a student who may be interested in picking up free groceries, please have them make an appointment by filling out online order form.

Some things to remember:

  • No ID required. A car is not required.
  • Groceries will be pre-bagged (no substitutions at pick up)
  • Items vary, but typically can include fruit, vegetables, canned goods, dry goods, milk, meat, and snacks
  • This will not affect your food grant or financial aid in any way
  • SparkPoint is located in building 1, room 1-214

Please visit our website to learn more about SparkPoint’s other food, housing and financial services:

Thank you to the whole SparkPoint and Dream Center Team for their support in this effort.

Article by Chad Thompson

Fall 2022 Grove Scholarship Program Applications Now Open

grove scholarship flyerSparkPoint at Skyline College is currently accepting scholarship applications for 25 Career and Technical Education (CTE) students for the Fall 2022 cohort. Grove Scholarship applications are available online at and are due by 3:00 p.m. on September 14, 2022.

Eligible students will be selected for the program based on three short personal statements that describe who they are, why they have chosen their career path and why financial literacy is important to them. Academic standing and GPA are not a factor in selection, as long as the student meets the minimum requirements of a 2.0 GPA and a 75% completion rate. Once selected for the Grove Scholars Program, students will receive individualized financial coaching and career counseling, as well as a $2,000 scholarship for the semester.

If you would like to refer a student to the Grove Scholars Program or if you would like a SparkPoint staff member to share scholarship information or other SparkPoint Services with your class or program, please call (650) 738-7035, or send an email to  Additional information and support can also be found through the SparkPoint website.

Article by Chad Thompson

Skyline Welcomes a Record Number of New International Students!

International Students gathered for a photo outsideOn August 9, 2022, the International Student Program (ISP) hosted the Welcome Day for new international students! This fall, Skyline College is welcoming over 85 students from 20 different countries, a record high number of new international students since the Pandemic. The event provided the students with an opportunity to make friends with people from all corners of the world, connect with campus resources and see our beautiful campus in person. The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Dr. Vinicio Lopez, Vice President of Instruction, and Zaid Ghori, Interim Dean of Global Learning Programs and Services, and a series of fun activities such as a Bingo Game and Campus Tour Scavenger Hunt followed were led by ISP Student Ambassadors.

During lunch time, students also had a chance to meet with representatives from key student service offices such as STEM Center, Career Readiness & Job Placement Office and Health Center. Sebastian, a new international student from Indonesia, said that he was “surprised to see other students from Indonesia” as he thought he would be the only one. He was also able to make new friends with students from Myanmar, Nepal and China at his lunch table. After lunch, students who are participating in the district’s Homestay Program attended the Homestay Orientation conducted by the district’s homestay team. Julius, another new student from Indonesia, said, “My host family is the best! They are like my real family.”

Many students also signed up for the Serramonte Shopping Mall Tour, which took place later that week. Sirreck Brown, ISP Retention Specialist, led the tour along with a student ambassador, Kaitlyn Huang. They started the tour from campus so new students learned how to ride a bus. Sirreck and Kaitlyn took the students to a bank and cellphone company, and most importantly, they all enjoyed shopping at Target, a true American experience.

This series of welcome events helped new international students navigate their campus life, find communities and make friends. Special gratitude to the Strategic Partnerships & Workforce Development Division, Health and Wellness Services and STEM Center for sharing their information and resources! This event would not have been possible without their support.

ISP is part of the Global Learning Programs and Services Division at Skyline College. ISP will continue to provide services and programs for international students as well as for the entire Skyline College community. If you are interested in learning more about future ISP programs and events, contact ISP office at

Article by Chikako Walker

Administration of Justice Student Awarded $2,500 Scholarship

ADMJ Student Receives scholarshipSkyline College Administration of Justice student Andrew Mendoza was awarded a $2,500.00 Educational Scholarship at the 2022 Daly City PAL fundraiser banquet held at the Pomeroy Center in San Francisco on July 25th.  Mr. Mendoza was recognized by the Daly City Police Department’s Police Athletic League (PAL) Organization for his educational and community achievements while pursuing his career aspirations in the fields of Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice, and is the organization’s 19th recipient of the DC-PAL Educational Scholarship.

Mr. Mendoza has also been hired by the Daly City Police Department for the position of Police Officer and is currently attending the Basic Police Academy for six months of initial training by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), after which he will attend several months of additional agency-specific training in the Daly City Police Department’s Field Training (FTO) Program.

The Daly City PAL, a partnership involving community leaders and the Daly City Police Department, is a volunteer organization dedicated to supporting, inspiring, and helping young people to become healthy, social, and caring individuals through athletics.  The Daly City Police Department’s PAL Program was the first of its kind in the State of California, established in 1957.

ADMJ Professor Steve Aurilio, and member of the Daly City PAL board, instituted the Daly City PAL Educational Foundation (PAL-Ed) in 2007 as an auxiliary component of the PAL organization to help provide financial assistance to career-minded students who are interested in the justice field.  To date, all of the award recipients have been Skyline College ADMJ students.

To qualify, students must be interested in a Criminal Justice career and either be a graduating high school senior or enrolled in a college Administration of Justice studies Program.  They must also have a qualifying GPA, have performed community service work, and undergo an interview.

Article by Steve Aurilio

BAEC Ling Chien Graduates From College

BAEC is celebrating a graduation. Our very own Ling Chien graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration.

Ling has managed her BAEC duties and college student duties while being a student during a pandemic beautifully. However, graduating during a pandemic is a new experience for all students.

“It was interesting at first. I tried to get creative and find ways to make online learning more fun. For example, I built a fort and took classes in it. Or sit next to my roommates who are also taking classes while in class, so it felt like I was in a classroom. Gradually, when online learning went from one semester to two/three semesters, it started to get more stressful as requirements and standards became higher. This is when a physical planner became my best friend. I wrote everything down by the hour on school days, while juggling between two part-time jobs,” shared Ling.

Ling started with the BAEC in the Fall of 2017 as an intern and is now our Program Assistant. She has seen the BAEC grow and change these last few years. She has also learned valuable professional skills that she could take to her future roles.

“I found my path and interests in marketing and I love being creative. I like putting things together, it could be a workshop, a summit, an internship orientation, or a packet for our guests. It makes me feel accomplished to see ideas come to life. I learned that I am an efficient worker and get my tasks done fairly fast,” shared Ling.

Congratulations again to Ling Chien!

The Bay Area Entrepreneur Center is a hub of resources for anyone looking to start and grow their business idea.  Skyline College students, faculty, and staff are welcome to book a business coaching session or attend a workshop!

Questions? Interest? Contact us at, 650-738-7994, or visit us at

Article by Nicole Moreno-Deinzer

BAEC Reminds Business Owners to Prepare For The Holiday Season

flyer for eventAugust is the best time to start thinking about your holiday marketing campaigns. This is the BAEC taught in a workshop on August 26th.

Small business owners and Micro-Grant winners attended a Holiday Marketing Campaign workshop led by Nicole Moreno-Deinzer.

The workshop dived into the steps business owners should take when thinking about their holiday marketing campaigns. Such as;

  • Decide on a campaign theme.
  • Choose your campaign goals.
  • Define your target audience.
  • Create an offer.
  • Create a landing page.
  • Design a promotion plan.
  • Create lead nurturing paths.
  • Take the campaign live.

Business owners were able to ask questions at the end of the workshop. Questions included how to make a landing page, how to increase sales, and much more. Event attendees were also showed websites, and to help them manage their business.

The Bay Area Entrepreneur Center is a hub of resources for anyone looking to start and grow their business idea.  Skyline College students, faculty, and staff are welcome to book a business coaching session or attend a workshop!

Questions? Interest? Contact us at, 650-738-7994, or visit us at

Article by Nicole Moreno-DeinzerSk