A milestone for a Promise program

By AACC 21st Century Center Staff

The first cohort of L.A. College Promise program students are now graduates.

The Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) launched its L.A. College Promise program more than two years ago. The program just reached a milestone: the district celebrated the first-ever graduating class of Promise students.

More than 150 students, together with about 500 of their closest friends and family members, gathered last week for a special ceremony to mark the historic occasion. The event featured Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, LACCD Chancellor Francisco Rodriguez, California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley and student guest testimonial from Llisela Mateo.

In the official commencement ceremony on June 4, about 500 Promise students were part of the first cohort to graduate. Most are transferring to a four-year college or university of their choice.

How it works

The L.A. College Promise program is creating a college-going culture, particularly among underserved and economically challenged families and students. The program provides free tuition, priority registration and other academic counseling services to all first-time, full-time, first-year students entering any of LACCD’s nine colleges throughout Los Angeles County.

The program currently includes about 10,000 students (both first- and second-year students) who are enrolled in LACCD colleges. About 72 percent are Latinx and more than 80 percent are considered low-income based on financial aid application information.

Since the program began, the number of Los Angeles United School District graduates enrolling full time as first-time LACCD college students has increased by 54 percent.

“The L.A. College Promise Program is working exactly as it was envisioned,” Rodriguez said.  “Students are enrolling in record numbers from high school and they are completing or transferring to four-year universities in two years.”

Program participants also are eligible for special internship opportunities with the mayor’s office and can apply for sponsored overseas travel opportunities through the Mayor’s Young Ambassador program. And through a partnership with the Annenberg Foundation and the Foundation for the Los Angeles Community Colleges, Promise students entering this fall will be provided with a free laptop.

AACC 21st Century Center Staff

is a contributor to the 21st-Century Center.