Tia Ruggles--West Hills College Coalinga and the President’s Scholars Program are blessings in disguise
Tia Ruggles sees spending her first two years of college close to home attending West Hills College Coalinga as a President’s Scholar as a blessing in disguise--comparing the free tuition and books she received for her first two years at West Hills to her brother’s $20,000 in student loans for his first three years at Fresno State. She figures she saved about $48,000 while she was at WHCC compared to what she would have spent if she had gone to school in San Diego where she had previously planned to attend.
Beyond the financial savings, attending college close to home provided a major benefit as she underwent treatments for thyroid cancer that did not interrupt her education at West Hills.
A graduate of Coalinga High School with the Class of 2010, and West Hills College Coalinga Class of 2012, the psychology major says she had a “more personal relationship with many of the faculty members” at West Hills since class sizes are small and that her instructors were “flexible and understanding” of her treatments, which have included surgery and radiation.
With four surgeries behind her and a positive outlook for the future, Tia said nothing stands in her way. “One of the biggest things I’ve learned about life is that it is mostly what you make of it. Get involved, go to sporting events, support your school.”
Tia feels she received a quality education at WHCC that prepared her for transfer to U.C. Santa Cruz where she hopes to complete a bachelor’s and master’s in psychology with a counseling and student services option.