News Briefs: Peralta colleges offer incentives for fall semester

  • by Cynthia Laird, News Editor
  • Wednesday August 10, 2022
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Laney College in Oakland is one of two schools in the Peralta Community College District that is offering incentives to students for the fall semester. Photo: Courtesy Laney College
Laney College in Oakland is one of two schools in the Peralta Community College District that is offering incentives to students for the fall semester. Photo: Courtesy Laney College

Laney College in Oakland and College of Alameda, both part of the Peralta Community College District, are offering incentives for students for the fall semester.

Laney College is offering new and continuing students a free fall semester that goes beyond free tuition, a news release stated. The Fall is Free program is open to students who complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the California Dream Act application, and there are no minimum or maximum units required. Students can take in-person, hybrid, or online courses. (International students are not eligible for the program.)

In addition to free tuition, the program covers textbook costs and the college's student health fees. Students will also receive free bus passes, free lunch on campus, free weekly produce boxes, and Chromebook and Wi-Fi hotspots to check-out from the library.

"Laney College is thrilled to offer a free fall to most of our students," stated college President Rudy Besikof. "Now more than ever, we must recognize that college costs that go beyond tuition represent barriers to success for so many students whether they are working adults attending part-time or high school graduates.

With more than 130 programs to choose from, Fall is Free gives students the extra support they need, officials stated. Laney College offers associate degrees, certificates, and associate degrees for transfer, which guarantee admission into a California State University. This fall, there are over 600 classes to choose from, the release stated.

Laney College is located at 900 Fallon Street.

For more information, students can visit the college's Welcome Center, ( visit the Fall is Free website ( or call the Fall is Free helpdesk at (510) 255-3507, open from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 5 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday, and Thursday; 3 to 6 p.m. on Tuesday. Laney will be hosting information sessions for students August 11, 12, 15, and 16 at noon with an additional evening session at 6 p.m. on August 11. Students can also access the online FAQ at here.

In Alameda, the community college will offer students "$500 on Us" for the fall semester. According to a release, to qualify, a student must enroll in three or more units at the College of Alameda for the fall semester, for which classes start August 22, and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid or California Dream Act application by October 1. The funds will be awarded once eligibility is verified and no later than October 31.

"We see the '$500 on Us' campaign as an opportunity to show students we care, and help them kick-start their future at COA," stated Tina Vasconcellos, Ph.D., vice president of student services. "This campaign was the result of all divisions of the college (instruction, student services, administration, and the office of the president) working together to help students benefit from the transformative power of education."

She added that students who don't qualify for traditional financial aid will still get $500. Those who do qualify will get the $500 plus any other forms of aid they may receive.

"We are investing in our students and community — all students, regardless of income — in order to put money in their pockets while we provide them with a pathway to a four-year university degree," stated Nathaniel Jones III, Ph.D., COA president.

College of Alameda is located at 555 Ralph Appezzato Memorial Parkway.

For more information or to enroll, students can visit the college's website. College of Alameda is open Monday-Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Students are welcome to visit the College's Rock EnRoll Days on August 15 and 22 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. These are opportunities for new students to get assistance with application, registration, financial aid, and connect with student support programs. Free food and drinks will also be available.

Santa Clara has openings on bike panel

The city of Santa Clara has an opening to fill a partial term on its Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee. The term ends June 30, 2024.

According to an email announcement, the advisory body reports to the City Council. Its goal is to encourage recreational and commuter biking and walking by promoting safe, convenient, well-designed facilities and by evaluating local bicycle- and pedestrian-related projects.

Interested residents of the South Bay city can apply online here. The deadline is Wednesday, August 31.

Dannie Ceseña. Photo: Courtesy CA LGBTQ HHS Network  

New director for CA LGBTQ health group
The California LGBTQ Health and Human Services Network has a new director. Dannie Ceseña will lead the statewide coalition that works to advance LGBTQ health equity. He takes over from Amanda McAllister-Wallner, who stepped down at the end of July. She will continue to provide strategic guidance as deputy director of health access, a news release stated.

Ceseña is the first Indigenous Two-Spirit with Mexica roots to be director of health. The release stated that he has over 15 years of experience working with nonprofits in program development and advocacy. He also has extensive knowledge in creating transgender and gender-nonconforming health care collaborations by utilizing upstream interventions and addressing the root cause of the lack of access to TGNC-affirming health care, the release stated.

McAllister-Wallner stated that she's glad Ceseña's on board as the next director.

"I feel fortunate to have had a front-row seat to Dannie's work and leadership over the past four years, and have no doubt that he will take the network to exciting new heights in the coming years," she stated.

Among Ceseña's work is as one of the partners in the California Tobacco Control Program. He is responsible for building the We Breathe: Supporting Tobacco-Free LGBTQ Communities from the ground up, and has established the program as a leader statewide, nationally, and even internationally, the release stated.

He stated that he's looking forward to the new position.

"Amanda has done a tremendous job in taking a small program that is housed at Health Access and turning it into a statewide powerhouse and organization that has name recognition and respect among many state departments," Ceseña stated. "Even though I am following in the footsteps of a legend, I look forward to working closely with our steering committee and deepening our work in state advocacy and policy for equitable and accessible LGBTQ health care."

For more information on the network, click here.

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