Making College Affordable
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Saint Paul College A Community & Technical College

Making College Affordable
Kessya Molina and Nisma Mohammed

Making College Affordable

Power of YOU students Kessya Molina (l) and Nisma Mohammed (r) are enjoying different pathways, but have benefited from tuition-free programs to help pay for college.

While no two students have the same educational journey, many benefit from the same programs, such as the Power of YOU. More than just free tuition for two years, the Power of YOU encompasses all of these positive aspects of the student experience: academic advancement, affordability, belonging, encouragement, involvement, success, and support.

We asked both Kessya Molina and Nisma Mohammed questions about choosing Saint Paul College, their experiences with the Power of YOU, and the overall impact of both on their lives.

How did you hear about Saint Paul College and the Power of YOU?

Kessya Molina: I did PSEO at Saint Paul College my senior year of high school. I was really eager to earn college credits that also counted as high school credits without having to go to high school. Being on campus for my senior year I noticed the Power of YOU signs all around the building, as well as their page on the school’s website. It seemed like the most logical option for me if I wanted to go to college because neither of my parents could even remotely afford it.

Nisma Mohammed: I didn’t want to go through my college experience alone and it was almost time for me to graduate high school. That’s when I started looking for something that could further support me after Gateway to College (Saint Paul Public Schools). I heard about the Power of YOU through Gateway to College. They had a flyer in the office and when I asked the staff, they told me everything about it.

What has been your experience with the Power of YOU?

Kessya Molina: I realized it feels amazing to be part of the community. To be a part of something. We have new Power of YOU staff this year, and I love them so much due to their kindness, attentiveness, and eagerness to help - even when I don’t even feel that way about helping myself!

Nisma Mohammed: The staff at Power of YOU have been so helpful. They are with you every step of the way when it comes to things like class registration, FAFSA, academic support and so on.

How has Saint Paul College impacted your life?

Kessya Molina: Because of the atmosphere Saint Paul College has, it allows me to focus on my schooling. You can tell when you go to this school that the majority are here to learn and become something great whatever their interpretation of that may be.

Nisma Mohammed: Saint Paul College is one of the most diverse colleges in Minnesota and that's what makes it such a beautiful campus. The teachers, staff, and student workers are so understanding and helpful.

Why should high school seniors choose this program and college?

Kessya Molina: This program is amazing because not only do they help you with your tuition, but they also motivate you to become involved in the campus and your community. I have met some really cool people on campus, as well as gotten closer to the Power of YOU staff, and been able to have lunch with the school President!

Nisma Mohammed: How can you turn down free college for two years? High school students should choose this program because they offer so much support during the time you are here in college. The Power of YOU also gives you tips on how to manage your way on campus. It’s like getting a head start before all the other students who are starting their first year on their own.

What is your program major? What are your career/educational plans?

Kessya Molina: I’m currently finishing the Sterile Processing Certificate in order to complete the Surgical Technology AAS degree. After finishing that degree I expect to graduate from Saint Paul College and go straight into the field.

Nisma Mohammed: My major is Health Sciences Broad Field Associate of Science degree. My plan is to finish my two years at Saint Paul College and transfer to Metropolitan State University’s Nursing Program to complete my goal of being a registered nurse.

Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) Program

For high school students seeking a more rigorous academic experience, PSEO provides them the unique experience of attending college while still in high school. If they meet eligibility and application requirements, students can attend either part-time or full-time during the fall and spring academic school year, and their tuition, fees, and textbooks are provided at no cost.

PSEO Eligibility Info

The Power of You

The Power of YOU is a program that makes college available tuition-free. It covers the cost of tuition and fees for two years at Saint Paul College through state and federal grants and private scholarships. The Power of YOU supports as many students as possible based on student need and funds available for the program.

POY Eligibility Info


This article originally appeared in our College Magazine - Spring 2019. Download a free copy to read more stories like this one.

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