What programs & services are available for students?

California Mini-Corps

The California Mini-Corps program is a statewide program that places college students in local elementary and high schools in an effort to develop future teachers. College of the Desert students who join the Mini-Corps program will provide academic support to students from migrant family backgrounds and serve as a liaison between the child’s parents and the local school systems. To be eligible to participate in the Mini-Corps program, a student should come from a migrant family background and be enrolled in 12 semester units.  To learn more or to request an application, please call (760) 862-1316.


College of the Desert students who are also TANF recipients, as identified by the County of Riverside, are eligible to receive specialized services to assist them in achieving their educational goals. These services include assistance in obtaining County book vouchers, work study opportunities, individualized academic counseling, and other support services. For additional information about CalWORKs, please visit the CalWORKs office located on the second floor of the Cravens Student Services Center or call (760) 862-1343.

Career Center 

The Career Center provides comprehensive career services that guide, engage, and inspire students to reach their full potential by maximizing campus, community and technology resources. The goal of the Career Center is to assist students to make career decisions and choose majors that are a good match to their interests and abilities, complete the education and acquire the skills necessary to successfully compete in the workplace and contribute to the betterment of their communities. Services offered through the Career Center include career assessments, career counseling, workshops, in-class presentations, and electronic career research resources which include detailed information on career opportunities, requirements, and trends. The Career Center is located in the Cravens Student Services Center adjacent to the Counseling Center. For more information, please call (760) 862-1351.

Counseling Center

The primary goal of the Counseling Center is to provide learning opportunities for students to clarify their values and goals, to make decisions, and to develop self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-direction as related to their educational objectives.

Toward this goal, the staff of highly trained and diversely experienced professional counseling faculty are available to assist students with identifying their needs, assessing their strengths, and overcoming barriers. Counselors assist students in selecting the appropriate programs of study relative to their chosen objectives. Educational objectives may include completion of a vocational program, meeting major requirements for transfer to a four-year college or university, enhancement of employment skills, or improvement of basic skills.  Services available include:

  • Academic, Career and Personal Counseling
  • Development of Student Educational Plans (SEPs)
  • New Student Orientation
  • Crisis Intervention
  • Student Success and Study Skill Development Courses and Workshops
  • Information about Campus Resources and Financial Aid

Counseling services are offered to day and evening students.  Appointments are encouraged and can be made by telephone or in person.  Counselors are also available on a limited basis for drop-in counseling.  To see a counselor or to obtain more information, please visit the Counseling Center, located on the second floor of the Cravens Student Services Center, or call (760) 773-2521.

Counseling Services are also available at the Indio Campus and Mecca-Thermal Campus.  Appointments can be made by calling (760) 776-7200 for Indio or (760) 396-2010 for Mecca-Thermal.

Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS)

Students with disabilities at the College participate in the same activities and courses as any other student. Special services are offered to provide a more equitable classroom experience and to help successfully integrate the student into college life. Services are determined by an interactive process with a DSPS counselor regarding disability related limitations to accessing an education. Interested students must meet with a DSPS counselor to apply for these services.

Disabled Students Programs and Services (DSPS) is located on the first floor of the Cravens Student Services Center, and provides special instructional opportunities to qualified students. Special instructional programs include the DSPS High Tech Center, WorkAbility III and Adapted Kinesiology courses.

The WorkAbility III program also offers specialized courses, employment counseling and placement assistance in cooperation with the California Department of Rehabilitation.

Participation in DSPS services is voluntary. For more information, please call (760) 773-2534; TDD (760) 773-2598.

Engage. Develop. Grow. Empower. (EDGE)

EDGE is a 3-week program that offers a fast paced review of basic skills in Math and/or English to “Engage, Develop, Grow and [be] Empowered”. EDGE provides college students with a full range of experiences.  Students who participate and successfully complete the EDGE program are able to take advantage of many opportunities, including:

  • Math and/or Writing/Reading Review
  • Priority Registration
  • $100 COD Book Voucher
  • Access to Textbooks and Computers during participation in EDGE
  • Convenient, Fast-Paced Curriculum
  • Dedicated Faculty, Counselors and Staff
  • College Student Success Strategies
  • Assistance with Financial Aid Applications and Financial Literacy Exposure
  • A chance to place into higher level classes, saving time and money to pursue a college degree!

For additional information about EDGE, please email or call (760) 636-7970.


The Extended Opportunity Programs & Services (EOPS) program is a State-funded program designed to provide academic counseling and financial support to students who are from educationally and financially disadvantaged backgrounds. EOPS promotes student success with priority one registration, enrollment assistance, educational planning, and assistance with the cost of required textbooks. Participation in this program is limited to California residents who are eligible to receive the Board of Governors (BOG) Waiver A or B, are in good academic standing, are enrolled full-time (12 units per semester), and have an educational disadvantage.

EOPS students who are single, head of household CalWORKs recipients may also be eligible to participate in the Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program. CARE provides specialized counseling and workshops for single parents, as well as gas cards and financial assistance with child care expenses.

For additional information about the EOPS and CARE programs, please visit the EOPS/CARE office located on the second floor of the Cravens Student Services Center or call (760) 773-2539.


College of the Desert provides a variety of financial assistance for eligible students. Federal grants, state grants, fee waivers, scholarships (need based and non-need based), and part-time employment opportunities are available to through the Financial Aid Office. All students are encouraged to apply. For more information please visit the Financial Aid Office webpage.

Apply for Financial Aid

Complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) online  beginning October of each year. Be sure to list COD’s school code (001182). Students must have a current COD admissions application on file with the Admissions & Records Office.

Students who qualify for AB540 and who do not meet FAFSA citizenship requirements can apply for and receive State financial aid including the BOG Fee Waiver and Cal Grant by completing the California Dream Act Application online beginning January of each year. Be sure to list COD's school code (001182).​

Workshops are available to assist students with completing their FAFSA or Dream Act Application. Please refer to the Financial Aid Office webpage for workshop dates, times, and locations.

After the Financial Aid Office receives FAFSA or Dream Act Application, students may be required to submit additional documents directly to the Financial Aid office. Financial aid status can be viewed by logging on to the Student Self Service Portal via WebAdvisor on MyCOD Portal. A student's financial aid file will be reviewed to determine eligibility and the student will be notified via MyCOD email. If eligible, the BOG Fee Waiver will be awarded automatically once FAFSA or Dream Act Applications are reviewed.

Financial Aid Programs

  • Pell Grant
  • Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG)
  • Cal Grant B
  • Cal Grant C
  • Chafee Grant
  • Board of Governors (BOG) Fee Waiver (BOGW)
  • Federal Work Study
  • Scholarships
  • Book Authorizations
  • Full Time Student Success Grant

Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress

In order to maintain eligibility for most forms of financial aid, a student must be meeting the Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) standard. College of the Desert is required to determine whether a student is making Satisfactory Academic Progress toward his or her educational goal (AA, AS, certificate or transfer). This policy applies to all students whether or not they were previous recipients of financial aid. All students receiving financial aid are required to meet the following standards:

  • Be enrolled in an eligible program.
  • Maintain a minimum cumulative 2.0 Grade Point Average (GPA).
  • Complete at least 67% of all coursework attempted.
  • Complete educational goal within the maximum time frame (150%) of the published unit requirement.

For more information on College of the Desert’s SAP policy please visit the Financial Aid Office webpage.  

Minimum Requirements for the Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW)

Once a student is qualified for the BOGW, it is important to ensure that academic and progress standards are met in order to avoid losing it. Any combination of two consecutive terms of cumulative GPA below 2.0, and/or cumulative unit completion of not more than 50% may result in the loss of the BOGW eligibility. See page 45 for information on academic and progress standards.


COD’s scholarship program provides scholarship opportunities to new, current and transferring students. The COD Foundation Scholarship application is available online at the Financial Aid Office webpage during the fall semester of each academic year. External scholarships are posted on the Financial Aid website under scholarships.

The College is fortunate to assist in the coordination and delivery of a number of external or private scholarship awards from various civic groups, clubs and agencies. Potential donors or scholarship committee chairpersons are encouraged to contact the Financial Aid Office or the COD Foundation Office if assistance is needed in establishing or implementing a private scholarship program. For more information, please call (760) 776-7435.

Repayment of Funds

In accordance with federal regulations, students who receive federal financial aid and withdraw from or receive FW grades in all of their classes for the semester may be required to repay any unearned grant funds they have received. Students who drop or withdraw from a portion of their classes may have an adjustment made to their second disbursement or may be required to repay a portion or the entire grant. All money received in the form of Pell Grants and/or Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG) will be subject to repayment requirements. Funds are returned to the appropriate federal program based on the percentage of unearned aid using the Federal formula. For additional information, please visit Financial Aid webpage and click on Award Information, and click on Drops, Withdrawals and Repayment of Funds.

Foster Youth (FY) Services

Foster Youth (FY) Services is designed for current or former foster youth. To be eligible for FY Services, a student must have been in a County foster youth services program from age 13 and up and provide official documentation from the Department of Public Social Services (DPSS). FY Services promotes student success with priority one registration, enrollment assistance, educational planning, and assistance with completing the Chafee Grant application process as well as the Burton Book Fund Application. FY Services also provides community resources and referrals.

For additional information about Foster Youth (FY) Services, please visit the EOPS/CARE Office Suite located on the second floor of the Cravens Student Services Center or call (760) 776-7498.

International Education Program

College of the Desert believes that international students add to the multiculturalism and diversity of our campus.  International Education is an active program with over 200 international students from 40 different countries studying at COD. The International Student Office is committed to assisting international students during their studies at the College. We offer extensive services to support international students throughout their studies at COD and the Intensive English Academy. Services include orientation, counseling, university transfer assistance, activities, immigration advising, and housing assistance. Although there are no dormitories on campus, the International Education Programs Office presently has a Host Family Program and offers information regarding off-campus apartments.

Obtain the International Student Application online, or contact the office at:  

    International Student Office
    43500 Monterey Avenue
    Palm Desert, CA 92260    
    by email
    by telephone:  001-760-776-7205
    or by fax: 001-760-862-1361

Mathematics, Engineering, Science Achievement Program (MESA)

MESA is an academic enrichment program that serves students who are seeking degrees in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) fields who are educationally and financially disadvantaged students and emphasizes participation by students from groups with traditionally low rates of eligibility to four-year institutions.

MESA offers curricular and extracurricular services to increase the numbers of students who transfer and ultimately graduate with degrees in math-based and science-based fields. These areas include, but are not limited to, physical sciences, life sciences, computer science, engineering, pre-medicine, pre-veterinary, and pre-pharmacy. The MESA Program provides support through the following:

  • Academic Excellence Workshops
  • Tutoring
  • MESA Student Study Center (MSTC, Room 146)
  • Textbook Loans
  • Career Advising
  • Internship and Job Information
  • Transfer Assistance to Four-year Institutions
  • Scholarship and Financial Aid Assistance
  • Online orientation course for Math and Science Majors
  • Field Trips to Universities, Industry Sites, and Special Events
  • Part-time Student Employment

Through the participation in the MESA Program, students will:

  • Develop a command of collaborative work skills in their chosen field of study and exhibit the appropriate study skills to master the material.
  • Identify long-term support systems including faculty, on-campus resources, professional organizations, and potential employers.
  • Produce an educational plan that outlines the requirements needed for transfer to and completion of a degree at a four-year institution.
  • Develop a resume in order to obtain internships to professionally develop themselves for tomorrow’s workforce.
  • Demonstrate the confidence required to successfully navigate the academic process at their transfer institution.

The MESA Program is administered by the School of Arts and Sciences and is located in the Math Science Technology Center, Room 146. For additional information, call (760) 776-7455 or email Carl Farmer, Director.

McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center

The McCarthy Family Child Development & Training Center (MFCDTC) is nationally accredited by National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). MFCDTC serves as the model lab/demonstration program for the Early Childhood Education Department and related disciplines at College of the Desert. College students perform observations and participate in on-the-job training as well as conduct student teaching in the Center. The Center welcomes and supports children ages 12 months to 5 years from diverse backgrounds with differing abilities in a safe and welcoming setting. Responsive and professional teachers and caregivers build trusting relationships with the children and families.  Children learn by doing in an environment that offers challenge and support. We proudly serve College of the Desert students, faculty, staff and local community members. The children of COD students receive priority enrollment into the Center; however, all are welcome to apply. The Center’s fees are determined on a sliding fee schedule based on family income. For more information, please call the Center at (760) 862-1308.

New Horizons Book Loan Program

The New Horizons Book Loan program provides low-income students with books for eligible courses. The book loan program is funded through the Carl D. Perkins Vocational and Applied Technology Act of 1998 (VTEA), a state funded grant to improve the vocational and technical education programs in California. To be eligible to participate in the book loan program, students must be recipients of the Board of Governors Fee Waiver (BOGW) and meet other specified criteria. To learn more or to request an application, please call (760) 773-2571.

Transfer Center

Located next to the Counseling Center in the Cravens Student Services Center, the Transfer Center is available to assist students with completing the transfer process to a four-year institution. A resource library of select college catalogs and reference materials are also available. Services include counseling, workshops, assistance in completing transfer applications to CSU, UC, independent or out-of-state colleges and universities. Counselors and university representatives are available by appointment to work with prospective transfer students.

Each Fall the Transfer Center hosts a College and University Day, during which representatives from various public and private four-year institutions are available to meet with students who are planning to transfer. In the Spring, students are awarded with Transfer Certificates and medallions at the annual Transfer Recognition Ceremony. For more information about available transfer services, please call (760) 862-1351.  


The TRiO Student Support Services (SSS) programs, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, seek to assist low-income, first generation college students to complete their degrees and transfer to four-year institutions. Currently, COD supports three TRiO SSS programs: SSS-ACES, SSS-DSPS and the new SSS-Veterans programs. The programs provide free one-on-one counseling, tutorial services, college tours, and priority enrollment for eligible participants.  

All SSS programs are open to any COD student who meets low-income criteria and who would be the first in their family to attain a college degree. SSS-ACES serves the general student population while SSS-DSPS has a similar eligibility criteria; however it has a special focus on assisting students who have verified disabilities. The new SSS-Veterans program aims to help veteran students succeed academically. The eligibility requirements are the same as the other two SSS programs, however, participants have to be military veterans or reservists.

Students interested in participating in the programs should visit the following TRiO offices in South Annex room 10 & 12 or call the following numbers:

    SSS-ACES: (760) 776-7347
    SSS-DSPS: (760) 636-7940
    SSS-Veterans: (442) 400-5306

TRiO-Upward Bound

Upward Bound (UB) is a TRIO program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. The UB program provides academic and counseling support to local low-income high school students who would be first-generation college students. The UB program requires students to attend two Saturday Academies per month and a six-week summer program. Some benefits of the program include academic and cultural field trips, SAT and ACT preparation, and financial support. For more information, please visit the TRIO Programs office located South Annex room 10, or call (760) 773-2541 to request an application.

Veterans Resource Center (VRC)

Veteran Services

The BIGHORN Golf Club Charities Veterans Resource Center (VRC) assists Veteran students and their families with their COD educational and VA related needs. The VRC provides the following services: assistance with accessing the VA Education Benefits, academic counseling, a dedicated space to study and use computers, campus and community referrals, and opportunities to meet and socialize with other veterans at the College.

The VA Certifying Official is located in the VRC to assist students with the certification process to verify enrollment to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Students who are applying for VA education benefits must contact the VRC and provide required documents and transcripts from other colleges for evaluation. Continuing students are required to submit the Veterans Program Certification Request form each semester for which they wish to receive payment. COD is approved by the California State Approving Agency to enroll veterans and other eligible persons.

For additional information or assistance, call the VRC at (760) 773-2536, visit our webpage or stop by the VRC located in the Cravens Student Services Center room 125.