Calif. college refocuses on access, completion

By Aya Abelon

The Cerritos Complete program reduces college costs and pushes for on-time completion.

Cerritos College welcomed 600 new high school graduates into its Cerritos Complete program that begins this fall semester.

Cerritos Complete is the college’s new student success initiative that focuses on students’ pledge to “earn” and complete their degrees or certificates on time. In exchange, Cerritos will provide up to 800 students from local high schools with a merit-based scholarship for a tuition waiver or a $200 book voucher for one year.

Cerritos Complete includes the college’s K-16 Bridge to College program and is modeled after the California Promise, with a target of degree completion and reducing college costs.

With its continued focus on student completion, the campus also unveiled its new Finish First program to support students who are only one class away from graduating or completing a certificate. Students receive assistance through priority enrollment, financial assistance for either enrollment fees or vouchers for books and supplies to complete their degree, or certificate program or transfer.

Another new initiative to support students through completing their degrees is the Accelerated Instruction in Math and English (AIME) program. AIME is designed to help accelerate students’ ability to complete their remedial, college-level math and English courses faster.

“Our goal is to ensure that we reduce every possible barrier that we can to help our students complete their education,” said Jose Fierro, president/superintendent of Cerritos College. “While it is important that students attend college, it is even more critical that they finish.”

Too many students across the state and the nation don’t finish their academic goals largely because of financial reasons and other circumstances, he said. Programs such as Cerritos Complete, Finish First and AIME are vital to helping students at his college achieve their goals on time.

“We will continue to invest resources into developing innovative programs and initiatives that provide more students with strong academic support services and early college preparation programs,” Fierro said.

This article was originally posted at CC Daily.

Aya Abelon serves in public relations at Cerritos College in California.

Aya Abelon

serves in public relations at Cerritos College in California.