Four College of the Canyons (COC) leaders traveled to Sacramento, Calif. to participate in the second annual College Promise Conference.
The conference included 400 leaders from the state’s public education systems who discussed the future of the College Promise Program, which offers financial, academic and community support to students in an effort to increase college access and completion, especially for low- to middle-income students.
COC participants in the conference included Deputy Chancellor Barry Gribbons, Dean of Instructional Support and Student Success Denee Pescarmona, Dean of Enrollment Services Jasmine Ruys and Chairman of the College of the Canyons Foundation Board of Directors Steve Corn.
“I’m looking forward to bringing back new ideas and information that will help us take First Year Promise to the next level,” Corn said of COC’s own version of the College Promise Program titled First Year Promise.
During the conference, educational leaders heard from the heads of all public education systems in California and worked in breakout sessions discussing the key elements of successful College Promise Programs.
Topics of the breakout session included: strengthening cross-sector partnerships, securing financial sustainability, developing evaluation plans and aligning programs with existing academic and student support systems.
Currently, there are nearly 55 College Promise Programs in community colleges throughout the state.
“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 Martha J. Kanter, the executive director of the College Promise Campaign in a statement.
Students who participate in these programs are more likely to enroll in college, to complete more credits and to receive a degree than their non-Promise classmates, according to California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office.
First Year Promise
This fall, COC launched its College Promise Program, titled First Year Promise (FYP), for nearly 300 qualified incoming students.
“The First Year Promise program gives qualified incoming students the opportunity to attend College of the Canyons tuition-free and fee-free for their first fall and spring semester,” Eric Harnish, vice president of public information, advocacy and external relations, told The Signal in March. “We estimate that student that participates will save about $1,500.”
FYP students enroll in a one-year sequence of course with priority registration, participate in a summer orientation, receive Open Educational Resources (OER) textbooks, have ongoing academic support and collect a $100 voucher for supplies and instructional materials each semester.
“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,” Chancellor Dianne Van Hook said in a statement.
The program is currently funded by a $750,000 California College Promise Innovation Grant Program. COC was one of 14 colleges chosen to receive the grant from the California Community Chancellor’s Office.
Pescarmona and Ruys, who attended the College Promise Conference, are also serving as co-project directors for the grant to launch FYP.
Currently, the college and the COC Foundation is exploring fundraising opportunities to extend the benefits of the program beyond the grant.
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