Thriving with tuition-free education: Huynh's triumphs, grows as a Promise Scholar

Jan 4, 2024Melissa Trevizo
Lara Huynh

The Promise @ San Jac Scholarship has been changing students’ lives through debt-free education since 2021.

One of those students, Lara Huynh, recently completed her first year as a Promise Scholar and is grateful for the opportunity.

“When my parents and I first heard about Promise, we thought it might be too good to be true,” she said. “After we learned more, it was like we struck gold. My parents were so excited that my tuition would be free.”

During the Promise pledge process, even though Huynh felt a bit overwhelmed, San Jacinto College staff like Promise coordinator Roberto Mendez were there to help.

“There were a lot of steps to enroll in Promise, but I thought, ‘This is free college — do what you need to do,’” Huynh said. “Mr. Mendez was a huge help anytime I’d run into a problem with paperwork. I couldn’t imagine missing out on this opportunity because I gave up.”

A natural science major, Huynh found the transition from high school to college a bit rocky, forcing her to develop new study habits.

“I didn’t have to study much in high school,” Huynh said. “I got by without it. College has shown me that I can’t do that anymore. I learned that the hard way, especially with anatomy and physiology.”

Lara Huynh

After Huynh’s first semester, she developed her own path to success.

“In college, each day is a different chapter. It’s fast-paced,” she said. “I have to make sure I’m asking questions as soon as I have them. Also, finding a study group is key.”

Huynh has also found getting involved in the San Jacinto College community significant to her time in college.

“There are so many student clubs and not just for academics,” she said. “There is a K-pop club and a self-defense club. If you have an interest, you can find other students who are into the same things. Finding those people has helped boost my confidence and helped me to make new friends.”

In the future, Huynh hopes to pursue a bachelor’s degree and a career in the medical field.

“I’m grateful for the opportunities the Promise program has afforded me,” she said.

Read more stories from the Chancellor's Report to the Community

Promise @ San Jac by the numbers


In-district high schools

$3.85 million

Estimated savings to students since fall 2022


Current Promise Scholars


Current Promise Partners


Amount raised by Promise Partners to date

2023 Promise Scholar Numbers


of in-district high school seniors pledged (7,596)


of students who pledged also applied (6,822)


of applicants submitted FAFSA/TASFA (4,662)


 enrolled (3,280)
Categorized As