Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia joined leaders from the Long Beach Unified School District, Long Beach City College and Cal State Long Beach this week in renewing and expanding the nationally recognized Long Beach College Promise.
The College Promise was first signed in 2008 by leaders from LBUSD, LBCC and CSULB to help students prepare for, and succeed in, college. LBUSD graduates can receive a tuition-free semester at LBCC and guaranteed admission to CSULB if they meet minimum requirements at the university.
An expansion of the College Promise will focus on universal preschool enrollment and a doubling of internships among local students. Garcia said the City of Long Beach would take the lead by doubling the city’s 400 internships to 800. The internship expansion will help boost the school district’s Linked Learning instruction that ties together classroom time and work-based learning to make coursework more relevant and rigorous. The College Promise expansion also will include efforts to increase student scholarships and other student support.
Already, the College Promise has helped achieve a 43 percent increase in CSULB enrollment by LBUSD graduates. More than 5,600 high school graduates have benefited from free enrollment at the city college in the fall semester, and LBCC and LBUSD students have shown that they are more likely to remain enrolled at the university than other students.
The mayor joined LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser, LBCC President Eloy Ortiz Oakley and CSULB President Jane Close Conoley in signing the expanded College Promise document during a ceremony at McBride High School. The officials were joined by students from the school, along with kindergartners from nearby Newcomb Academy.
“As we all know, the Long Beach College Promise has been incredibly successful,” Mayor Garcia said. “And while the city has certainly been supportive, and the city has always been a great cheerleader for our educational institutions, we have an ability as a city to be a full partner in the College Promise. The single most important thing that we can do to strengthen our local and regional and national economy is to invest in education, which is why education will be my top priority as mayor and why we decided to partner with our great institutions.”
The College Promise has been described as a national model in a case study by the Washington, D.C.-based Business Higher Education Forum. In addition, the Little Hoover Commission, an independent agency that recommends ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of state programs, cited the College Promise as a successful model, saying “more LBUSD graduates are enrolling in postsecondary courses at the city college or state university; they are better prepared than their peers from other school districts, and fewer are dropping out after their first semester.”