California’s Moreno Valley and Riverside City Colleges have launched a new College Promise Initiative. The initiative will be funded through donations and other means. Between the two colleges, they expected to help 1,500 students receive free tuition and books for their first year.
Moreno Valley College (MVC) aims to help about 500 students coming from the Val Verde and Moreno Valley Unified School Districts (MVUSD).
“A year of free tuition and books and no fees could very well be what makes going to college possible for many of our students,” Cleveland Johnson, MVUSD school board president, said in a release.
Riverside City College (RCC) will work with Riverside, Alvord and Jurupa unified school districts to fund 1,000 students through its Promise program.
Though they’re partnering on the initiative, each of the colleges have different eligibility requirements, though students going to either college must commit to attending full time. At RCC, the program is tailored to provide “high-quality education tailored especially for the transfer-minded students,” according to the website. At MVC, the emphasis is on “supporting students in completing their associate degree requirements, transfer requirements, and/or workforce certificate requirements in a timely and efficient manner.”
“MVC launched the MVC Promise initiative as a commitment to increasing college and career readiness in our community,” Dyrell Foster, vice president of student services, said. “This program will provide increased access to higher education for first-generation college students by addressing the financial barriers that often get in the way of those seeking to attend college.”
College Promise programs are expanding quickly in California. Among the many programs, the Los Angeles College Promise begins this fall. The San Diego Community College District Promise is wrapping up its pilot year, during which it served 175 students. Beginning this fall, nearly 800 students will be able to benefit from the program.
That’s due in part to financial support from the state. In September of 2016, Gov. Jerry Brown signed a bill that provided funding to districts interested in implementing or expanding Promise initiatives.
The state’s 2016-17 budget funded a one-time amount of $15 million to be distributed to institutions in the California Community Colleges system. Fifteen districts in the state were awarded $1.5 million. The Riverside Community College District, in which RCC and MVC reside, wasn’t selected to receive funding, but RCC and MVC decided to implement of Promise program regardless.
The Chancellor’s Office is working with state leaders to develop a statewide framework for College Promise. The focus will be on improving student outcomes and reducing the cost of attending college.