sierra nevada Credit: Sierra Nevada

It’s no secret the cost of college in the U.S. is steep. But now one northern California school is kicking off a new scholarship program to help absorb some of that cost, and part of the funds are thanks to the founder of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co.

(LEARN: Beer Schools)

Butte College in Oroville, California, announced the Promise Scholarship Program, which offers two semesters of free tuition and fees. State and private money will help fund the program, and the college says a $1 million donation from alumni Ken Grossman and his wife Katie Gonser helped give it a “kick start.” The school says it’s the largest gift in its history.

Ken, Katie and their children all attended Butte College. Ken was named one of the school’s outstanding alumni in 1999. The college is about 15 miles from Sierra Nevada Brewing’s headquarters in Chico.

“The Promise Program helps open the door wider to students so they can opt to learn a trade, enroll in a career program, or take general education classes. We believe this will encourage more students to attend community college and ultimately contribute to our workforce and economy,” Ken says in a news release.

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Ken began as a homebrewer who opened a homebrewing supply store in Chico in 1976. He officially founded Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., an independently-owned brewery, in 1980. The brewery’s Sierra Nevada Pale Ale is a pioneering beer that’s often named among the beers that launched America’s craft beer culture.

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