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Distaso Family

When three college-bound teenagers simultaneously head off to college, it means triple the tuition, books, living expenses, and not to mention the worry and stress for their parents. For the Distaso family triplets, this was always going to be a challenge—especially with older brother Jack already enrolled at Irvine Valley College (IVC).

Thanks to free first-year tuition for the 2019-20 school year, free bookstore vouchers, and other resources provided by the Irvine Valley Promise program, triplets Katie, Ryan and Curtis Distaso (all 2019 graduates of Irvine’s Woodbridge High School) have joined Jack on their path to university transfer.

“The Promise program is helping our family save close to $10,000 on tuition, which is amazing,” said Katie Distaso, who is interested in studying health sciences but looks forward to taking many IVC classes to see where they lead her. “IVC is a great community college, and the staff are willing to do so much to see their students succeed, not only in their courses but in life as well. They have so many great programs that will help you and your family save money while going to college.”

In addition to free tuition, part of the foundation of the Irvine Valley Promise program is designated counseling services, which the Distasos agree is essential. “I didn’t know what to major in, and I was sure that IVC could help me try and narrow my career options. And just within a few weeks at IVC, I have started to pare down my options,” Ryan said.

“I am currently exploring my options for a career while at IVC, but I am considering majoring in graphic design, with a possibility of a minor in another area.

For Curtis, Irvine Valley Promise’s focus on academic goals is in line with his overall concentration on a film career and ultimately transferring to Chapman University for film production. “I think that IVC is a really good path if you want to transfer because you'll end up saving so much money,” he said.

“Irvine Valley Promise’s vision is to help our students be successful in their first year and beyond,” said Amrik Johal, IVC Director of Outreach, Recruitment, and Student Support Services. “As an institution, we are committed to supporting and encouraging our students beyond academic achievement. Social integration and a strong network of peers, staff, and faculty are also key elements of our program.”

The prospect of having more than one child attend college at a time is daunting—whether it’s twins, triplets, or closely spaced siblings. The cost of multiple tuition bills only increases the attractiveness for attending IVC,” said Ken Lira, Assistant Dean of Financial Aid and Student Support Services.

The overall cost of attending IVC is very low compared to the private, UC, and CSU systems. “IVC full-time tuition and fees for one year are approximately $1,144, compared to Cal State Fullerton at $6,854 and UC Irvine at $15,502 annually,” Lira said. “We are pleased that we will soon have four IVC Distaso family alums.”

IVC is currently seeking applicants for the 2020-21 Irvine Valley Promise program. To be considered, prospective students must complete the FAFSA or CA Dream Act Application by March 2, 2020, and to complete the eligibility steps by April 17, 2020. For additional information and steps to apply, please visit the Irvine Valley Promise website.