On Monday, Erie County Community College (EC3) announced Erie County residents attending the new college will receive free tuition for the Fall 2021 semester.
The Erie County Council will designate funds from the American Rescue Plan toward free tuition for students who have resided in Erie County for more than one year when they enroll in classes beginning on Sept. 1.
The Council’s funding comes from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan and is the first of a $52.3 million pool of money slated for Erie County development.
“The community college will play a vital role in preparing a skilled, trained workforce, which will allow Erie County to get back on track,” said County Councilman Carl Anderson, the liaison to EC3. “Hope and opportunity are, indeed, alive right here in Erie County!”
Kathy Dahlkemper, County Executive, said she believes the Council’s actions reflect an historic moment for the county.
“The funding allocated to Erie County Community College from the American Rescue Plan Act via the EC3 Empowerment Grant is transformative,” Dahlkemper said. “This money provides immediate relief by removing the financial barrier of tuition, allowing all students access to quality education and building the strong workforce Erie County businesses need to thrive. This investment will benefit Erie County for generations to come.”
EC3 is the newest community college in the country, and students can apply now to begin learning in one of three fields: liberal arts, business management and entrepreneurial thinking, or computer information systems and networking. The College will offer a combination of two-year programs, post-secondary career certificates, and technical courses.
Tuition, normally $160 per credit hour for Erie County residents, will be free. Students may have minimal fees and book expenses, but EC3 has established a book-and-fee waiver application for students experiencing economic hardship.
EC3 Board Chair Ron DiNicola said finances are a common barrier to students going to college.
“Many Erie County residents have struggled through this pandemic, and the Council’s approval of the tuition funding in addition to the emergency funding takes away financial barriers for so many,” DiNicola said.
Students interested in enrolling or finding out more about EC3 are encouraged can click HERE.
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