The rising cost of college is the reason many don't pursue higher education.
Cabrillo College is hoping to change that.
Known as the "Cabrillo College Promise," the college is offering, for the first time, a free year of tuition for any graduating senior from a Santa Cruz County high school.
Vice President of Student Services Sue Gochis said costs are prohibiting many potential students from attending a college, even to a relatively affordable community college such as Cabrillo.
"Continually we hear the cost of education is outlandish," she said. "We are trying to help students reach their goals, and open access to more students."
To qualify, a person must be a first-time college student, and complete either the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the California Dream Act Application. The student must enroll full time, or 12-15 units, and remain in good academic standing, including a 2.0 GPA.
It does not cover books, living expenses or other fees.
Cabrillo tuition costs $46 per unit. For a full-time student taking 12 units, that would amount to $552 per semester.
Gochis said the response has been "overwhelmingly positive," with about 300-400 students expected to take advantage of the program this year.
"This will open some doors for students who may not have considered going to college," she said.
For information, visit www.cabrillo.edu/services/promise.