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Aug. 30, 2017
College Leaders Join Statewide Effort to Expand College Promise Partnerships

Representatives from College of the Canyons were among more than 400 education leaders, including the heads of all public education systems in California, that gathered today in Sacramento as part of a statewide effort to develop strategies to improve and expand College Promise partnerships, which offer financial, academic, and community support to eligible students throughout the state. College Promise initiatives are part of a growing national movement to support college access and completion, especially for low- to middle-income students, creating a “college-going culture” in the communities where they exist and strengthening local economies.

In a continued effort to reduce college costs, College of the Canyons launched its First-Year Promise (FYP) program this fall.  It is designed to create a pathway that will provide increased opportunities for new full-time college students to achieve their educational goals, through a $750,000 grant from the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office (CCCCO). 

“College of the Canyons is widely recognized for its commitment to institutional effectiveness, data-driven initiatives, sustained efforts to make college more affordable for more students” said COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook. “We are very excited by the early success of the First Year Promise program and look forward to partnering with the community to expand the reach and impact of the program.” 

Out of 51 community college districts that applied, COC was one of only 14 colleges awarded a CCCCO grant through the California College Promise Innovation Grant Program. 

Participating students enroll in a one-year sequence of courses with priority registration, preceded by summer orientation to learn about majors and receive academic guidance.  First-Year Promise courses will be offered with the benefits of OER textbooks and other learning community elements. To ensure participating students remain on track, ongoing counseling and student support will also be offered. Additionally, each student will receive a $100 voucher per semester that can be applied toward other supplies and instructional materials. 

California is a national leader in the advancement of College Promise programs, with more than 50 active or announced Promise programs underway — more than any other state in the country. A key to the success of Promise programs is the coupling of public and private resources.

Under the leadership of board chairman Steve Corn, the College of the Canyons Foundation is currently exploring fundraising opportunities to extend the benefits of the First Year Promise program beyond the term of the grant.  Corn was among those attending the event in Sacramento today.  “I’m looking forward to bringing back new ideas and information that will help us take First Year Promise to the next level,” he said. 

College affordability is a priority among all of California’s higher education institutions; the College Promise initiative affords a promising pathway to increase student success while keeping college affordable. The speakers at today’s event included:
  • Tom Torlakson, Superintendent, California Department of Education
  • Eloy Oakley, Chancellor, California Community Colleges
  • Janet Napolitano, President, University of California
  • Loren Blanchard, Executive Vice Chancellor for Student and Academic, California State University
  • Kristen Soares, President, Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities
“Across the nation, education, business, and government leaders from local communities and states are working together to develop College programs to enable students to start and complete a community college education without taking on mountains of debt,” said Dr. Martha J. Kanter, the Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign. “But nowhere is the pace picking up faster than in California, as local and state leaders are building and expanding free community college programs at a rapid rate. Today’s meeting is a great opportunity for California’s education leaders to discuss the most effective ways to create and enhance the state’s College Promise initiatives and to make them successful and financially sustainable.”​