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College Promise Catches on in L.A.

The Long Beach College Promise, which provides students greater opportunities to prepare for and complete college, may soon be replicated in Los Angeles, according to a report this week by the Los Angeles Times.

Times reporter Carla Rivera’s article examines ways to improve college graduation rates, especially among Latino students, whose college graduation rates lag compared with other Californians.

In Long Beach, the College Promise began five years ago as a collaboration among the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College and Cal State Long Beach.

“A collaboration in Long Beach is showing promise in improving enrollment and graduation rates,” the article states.  “It helps prepare K-12 students with a more rigorous college-prep curriculum and offers a free semester of tuition at Long Beach City College and guaranteed admission to Cal State Long Beach.”

Educators in East Los Angeles want to replicate the Long Beach model and are set to launch a pilot program next fall centered on Garfield High School (of Stand and Deliver fame), its feeder elementary and middle schools, East Los Angeles College and Cal State Los Angeles, according to the Times.

The College Promise has attracted national and state attention.  Last month, the Little Hoover Commission, an independent agency that recommends ways to improve efficiency and effectiveness of state programs, released a detailed report citing the Long Beach program as a successful model and calling upon the state Legislature to help replicate the program elsewhere in California.

The College Promise has provided tuition-free semesters for 4,000 students at LBCC, while guaranteeing admission at CSULB for qualified local students, and encouraging college preparation in elementary school.

This year’s progress report on the College Promise shows that the number of LBUSD graduates completing college-level English at LBCC increased by 500 percent over the previous year.  The number of LBUSD students completing college-level math at LBCC jumped by 200 percent over the same period.

Visit longbeachcollegepromise.org.