C O L L E G E T O C A R E E R 11 Like so many local high school students, GregThomas faced multiple financial obstacles when considering a path to higher education. “I had no idea how I was going to pay for college,”he says. Greg works two part-time jobs three days a week, trying to save money to buy a computer and keep his car in working order. When he heard about the College of the Desert plEDGE program, he was ecstatic. “A guaranteed place for me at COD tuition-free for two years seemed like a miracle,” says the 2017 Palm Desert High School grad. It was a hands-down easy decision for Greg to enroll full-time and commit to the re- quirements of the program. A kinesiology major, he is now confident he’ll be able to complete his associate degree in two years. “Without plEDGE, the cost is sure to have extended my time at COD,”Greg explains. “Who knows how long it would have taken?” As a requirement of the program, he completed the College’s EDGE program over the summer.The six-week academic boot camp helped prepared him for the rigors of higher education coursework as well as make connections to activities, mentoring and support systems on campus. He’s already joined the College’s Rotaract, Anime and Salsa Dance clubs. Greg is considering transferring to Loma Linda University to study athletic physical therapy and minor in nutrition after he graduates from College of the Desert. He recommends plEDGE to other high school seniors contemplating their college futures. “A guarantee of two years tuition-free at COD provides a new opportunity to students who didn’t think they’d have a chance to go to college,”he said.“Miracles do happen.” Guaranteed Two Years Tuition-Free at COD Like a Miracle for Some Local Students “Without plEDGE, who knows how long it would have taken?”