Making promises that count

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

A new initiative looks to advance College Promise programs by promoting student success.

College Promise programs help students access a college education. But what about helping them be successful? The Promises That Count initiative in California is aimed at ensuring greater support for students in Promise programs through Los Angeles County.

Seven colleges will participate in the three-year, countywide initiative: Cerritos College (Cerritos Complete), College of the Canyons (First Year Promise), Long Beach City College (Promise Pathways), Los Angeles Community College District (Los Angeles Promise), Pasadena City College (Pathways Program), Rio Hondo College (Rio Hondo College Promise), and El Camino Community College District (South Bay Promise).

The colleges will be part of a “Community of Practice,” committed to sharing with each other information, promising practices, innovations and solutions to improving College Promise programs. The Community of Practice also will include representatives from K-12 and postsecondary education, and local civic, nonprofit and business leaders.

“We have worked vigorously for years to create an extensive menu of support services for our students. This partnership will expand and strengthen those efforts, all to the benefit of our students,” Rio Hondo College Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said in a release.

The Rio Hondo College Promise program offers free first-year tuition for recent high school graduates, as well as innovative student supports and help with transfer.

For El Camino College, the timing is good. The college’s South Bay Promise program will expand this fall to include 500 high school graduates from within the El Camino Community College District boundaries. That’s a significant increase for the program, which launched in 2014.

Besides waiving enrollment fees — which can save up to $1,100 — full-time students also have access to free tutoring, counseling and other support programs, and receive priority registration.

Cerritos College’s Cerritos Complete program provides high school seniors from local school districts with their first year of college free. The program also provides student support services, including one-on-one counseling, early enrollment, and financial aid.

“Our Promise Program, Cerritos Complete, offers students more than the traditional promise initiative that focuses mainly on access to college. With Cerritos Complete, our aim is to give students access to college with a strong focus on finishing a degree or certificate on time,” said President/Superintendent Jose Fierro.

Promises That Count is a project of the California College Promise Project (CCPP) at WestEd in partnership Campaign for College Opportunity and UNITE-LA. It’s funded by the California Community Foundation. In October 2017, CCPP and WestEd released a report, which outlined the initiative and looked at the key features of College Promise programs in Los Angeles County.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.