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10* things you can get for FREE at Cuesta College

Image by Chanikarn Thongsupa At Raw Pixel.com edited by Daniel Burg

If you need it, there is probably someone on the Cuesta College staff who can help you get it.  

In fact, there are legions of Cuesta College professionals dedicated to inventing, administering, and delivering services and programs to help us (and I don’t just mean academically). 

Here is what you can expect from this article:

  • You will learn something new.
  • You will be able to easily link to many of the most popular programs, and
  • Some cats are allergic to humans (well maybe not that, but it’s true and you just learned it, so…)

Initially, I thought the best way to research this article was to type “FREE” in the search bar on the Cuesta.edu website and tell you what I found.

Yeah, not so much.

Then I reached out to a few Cuesta staffers.  I always asked the same question:  What one or two resources would you call out to students that you think are amazing and/or underutilized?  

Here are some of those answers…

Michelle Evans – Financial Aid  

All students, regardless of age and circumstance, should apply for either (FAFSA) Free Application for Federal Student Aid or the California Dream Act.  There is funding for every type of student, and it never hurts to ask. You could be passing up hundreds, even thousands of dollars, most of which is not taxable and you never have to pay back. 

So, what should students do, I asked. The answer is simple: set up a virtual call with the Financial Aid office, and the staff will walk you through the process.

Dr. Genevieve Siwabessy, Ed.D., Dean, Student Success & Support Programs

If you want to see some of the more popular offerings, Siwabessy suggests the SSSP Hub which is maintained by the amazing Donna Howard, Student Resolution Coordinator who you will hear from later in this article.

Illustration by Nathan Moran

The Cuesta Library Staff 

Librarian Laurie Buchholts suggested students access to free subscriptions through the Library A-Z Database, including the SLO Tribune. That is also where you can get TV shows and movies for free, like Fake Famous, The Human Element, and Crazywise: Rethinking Madness – Psychosis and Spiritual Awakening. 

When I zoomed with Sharon Haupt and Del Chausse on “Ask a Librarian,” they said “Just tell them to Ask a Librarian, we will help.” Whether it’s for peer reviewed articles for your research paper, or how to get a free Chromebook, they will either know the answer or connect you with someone who does. 

Allison Head, Division Chair – Kinesiology, Health Sciences and Athletics

Why pay for a gym membership when Cuesta offers classes for free? Head’s recommendation doesn’t just mean fitness; the department also offers FREE cooking and nutrition classes to students, and even some to the broader community.

Donna Howard, Student Support Resolution Coordinator 

“You don’t know what you don’t know,” Howard said.

So ask.

“If there is a barrier to your success at Cuesta, we want to help you remove it,” Howard continued. “Have a challenge, we are here to help whether it’s with a class or an instructor, if you are struggling, we want to know about it.”

Nearly everyone I spoke to mentioned this FREE $50 Target Gift Card. Just fill-out the form and wait for the email.

Here’s a few more…

Did you know that as a student you are eligible for 6-months of Amazon Prime Student for FREE and can continue your membership for $59 per year while you are in school? 

Did you know that you can get your taxes done for FREE at Cal Poly SLO?

Did you know you can use Microsoft Office 365 for FREE as a student?

Did you know that Adobe offers students FREE 7-day trials of their entire suite of software and then you can continue using the entire suite for $19.99 per month?

Did you know you can get a no minimum balance, no fee and no worries checking account with a fee free debit card from Capital One? Several other bank and credit card companies have enticing offers as well.

Did you know you can get FREE developer software from GitHub?

Did you know that older adults can take non credit FREE enrichment courses in art, history, creative writing, cooking, photography, yoga and more? High school students can also take Cuesta College classes for FREE.

Did you know you can get FREE Nutritional Guidance from the Cuesta Student Health Services and Nutrition Department to address your personalized diet analysis, and set positive lifestyle and nutritional goals such as nutrition for athletics, fitness, weight changes, or just to get a few ideas for SMART goal changes after discussing their diet analysis?

And finally, did you know that 90% of an iceberg is below the waterline? That is how I feel about this subject, and why I am glad there are so many Cuesta College staffers ready and waiting to help us.  

Try it out, and please use the comments tab to let us know of programs you are curious about or that we did not cover. We will endeavor to update this article so that it is always relevant.

* In case you were counting, that’s more than 10.