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Butte College to Offer Free Tuition Due to Large Donation

The Butte College Promise Scholarship Program will offer two semesters of free tuition and fees for first-time, full-time college students. the program is funded by Ken Grossman and Katie Gonser.

Posted: Jan. 29, 2018 11:55 AM
Updated: Jan. 29, 2018 5:51 PM

Chico, CA—Butte College President Samia Yaqub has announced Butte College will offer a new program that provides free tuition and fees for students beginning in Fall 2018. The Butte College Promise Scholarship Program will offer two semesters of free tuition and fees for first-time, full-time college students. The program will be funded by a combination of state and private funds.

The college recently received the largest gift in its history to help jump-start its fundraising effort. This $1 million donation, thanks to the generosity of alumni Ken Grossman, founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Company, and his wife, Katie Gonser, will partially fund the new Butte College Promise Scholarship Program. The college’s fundraising goal, to fully implement this program, is projected to be $2.7 million. However, the college would like to meet this goal and, then, to provide additional resources to extend the program to two years and help defray the cost of textbooks – which are typically the largest student expense. The college is seeking additional donors to enable it to provide a robust program that includes tuition and fees for two years and to defray book costs.


Currently, most jobs require some level of college education. Unfortunately, the cost of a college education is a significant barrier for students.

“Thanks to the generosity of the Grossman Family, more students will be able learn a trade, complete a career program or transfer to the university,” said Samia Yaqub, Butte College President. “We couldn’t be more thankful for their investment in our students and our communities. This donation helps remove financial barriers for students as they pursue their educational dreams. We invite others in the community to contribute towards a match of the Grossman Family’s donation to help us grow this Promise Scholarship Program.”

The Butte College Promise Scholarship Program is designed to support the needs of the region by establishing the expectation that every local student will go to college to gain the skills to succeed in the 21st Century economy and by improving the economic vitality of Butte and Glenn counties through educational attainment, along with removing financial hurdles and encouraging students to enroll full time with 12 or more units a semester. To be eligible for the program, students would be first time college students, apply for financial aid, maintain a gpa of 2.0 or higher, and take 12 units or more.

“Both my wife and I attended Butte College, along with our children, and we’re proud to be investing in students and our communities through this donation,” said Ken Grossman. “The Promise Program helps open the door wider to students so they can opt to learn a trade, enroll in a career program, or take general education classes. We believe this will encourage more students to attend community college and ultimately contribute to our workforce and economy.”

The $1 million gift establishes the Grossman Family Promise Scholarship Endowment and provides funding in perpetuity for the college’s new Promise Program. Ken Grossman, named one of Butte College’s outstanding alumni in 1999, hopes other alumni and companies will come forward with donations to the Butte College Promise Program to ensure the program can grow to add another full year and/or add book vouchers each semester. The Governor’s recent budget proposal included funding that can be used to supplement private donations.

“This gift will benefit future students for years to come. We’re proud of our longstanding partnership with the Grossman Family who have contributed to Butte College over the years with scholarships and in-kind donations,” said Lisa DeLaby, Butte College Director of Institutional Advancement.

For information about how you can donate to the Butte College Promise Program, contact the Butte College Foundation at 530-895-2359 or visit www.butte.edu/waystogive.

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