The College Promise Goes 2.0

Students can get the education they need without unmanageable debt.

Posted Dec 11, 2018

Luskin Learning Psychology Series, No. 43                                      

The dynamic national College Promise Campaign is a growing 21st-century community college partnership initiative gaining broad support for hard-working students in America’s community colleges. “One 21st century goal is for the first two years of college to become as universal and accessible as high school has been for the 20th century without taking on mountains of debt!” says National Chair Dr. Jill Biden. “The College Promise programs have now become a localized movement that is national in scope,” echoes Dr. Martha Kanter, Executive Director of the national initiative.

I wrote a previous Psychology Today article highlighting the birth of College Promise programs. Current research shows growing national support among local communities and states. Building on that success, we now see College Promise 2.0 emerging in 2019.

Money Talks

The size, scope, and structure of individual programs vary, but they all aim to help students get the education they need without taking on unmanageable student debt.

Growth has been particularly rapid in California where I recently retired as Chancellor of the Ventura County Community College District. In California, there are presently more than 50 promise programs throughout the state’s 114 community colleges. California community colleges combine state and private funding, allowing them the flexibility to respond to the unique economic and social needs of their communities. Continuing California’s long history of ensuring that higher education is affordable for state residents, California College Promise legislation (AB19) was passed in 2018.  (See the link below.)

Success in the Long Beach City College community gives us a valuable case study of Promise 2.0 In September 2018, the Long Beach College Promise announced a substantial enhancement to their partnerships, “Promise 2.0.” The goal of the Long Beach City College Promise 2.0 is to provide a seamless pathway to college and career for the students it serves.

 Dewald Kirsten/Shutterstock
Partnership for Progress
Source: Dewald Kirsten/Shutterstock

Partnership for Progress 

The expanded initiative includes significant enhancements that will transform the lives of students involved in the LBCC Promise. For example, 2.0 has now welcomed the Port of Long Beach, a leader in trans-Pacific trade, as its first industry partner. In addition, students in the Long Beach Unified School District Promise 2.0 will now receive:

  • Free tuition for 2 years at Long Beach City College for high school graduates.
  • Dual advising for students interested in transferring to California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). Through this process, students will receive advisement in a “cohort” model from both LBCC Academic Counselors and CSULB Academic Advisors to strengthen the connection between those schools.
  • Access to athletic events, the library, and student clubs/organizations for both LBCC and CSULB. This entre is an important part of the inter-school bridge.
  • Career exploration activities with both LBCC and CSULB.
  • A new college-to-careers program partnering with industry leaders to provide internships, scholarships, and pathways that lead directly to high-demand jobs.

“The new Promise 2.0 partnership between LBCC and CSULB, with the support from the Port of Long Beach, brings our College Promise to a whole new level,” LBCC President Reagan Romali recently told me.  

Education & Empowerment
Source: hxdbzxy/Shutterstock

Access to Excellence                                      

"These newly coordinated pathways will make higher education more accessible to Long Beach students while providing them with the support they need to succeed in college,” said Long Beach State University President Jane Close Conoley.

 “This truly takes the College Promise to a new level and makes higher education more attainable for our Long Beach students. We are giving students a way to make college more affordable and we provide students additional academic assistance to make the transition from LBCC to CSULB smoother and easier,” said President Romali.

“With today’s announcement we begin the exciting chapter 2.0 for The College Promise, and for local students,” announced LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser.

Some Important History

The university, the community college and the school district first committed to The College Promise in 2008, extending the assurance of a college education to every student in the Long Beach Unified School District. The City of Long Beach and its Mayor’s Office joined the initiative in 2014.  Since its inception, Long Beach City College has served as a model for communities in California and across the nation to develop partnerships centered on student success.

Port of Long Beach
First Industry Partner
Source: Port of Long Beach

Leading the Way 

With the Port of Long Beach recently joining as the first industry partner, the Port will lead the way to strengthen partnerships with LBUSD, LBCC and CSULB. This will further students’ education outreach and workforce goals to prepare the next generation of leaders in American industries. This synergy will build awareness and understanding of the Port and the maritime industry while helping to develop a skilled workforce that extends into international trade and the worldwide movement of goods while constantly creating career pathways and programs.  It will also provide an online hub for presenting a wide range of job and training resources, career profiles and opportunities to attend trade-related educational events.

“As the first industry partner to participate in the Long Beach College Promise 2.0, the Port can help connect students to training programs and local job opportunities in the logistics sector,” said Tracy Egoscue, President of the Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners. It has been said many times and interpreted in many ways by theologians, composers, artists, poets and writers that, "They that go down to the sea in ships, that do business in great waters…” see many wondrous things.

National and State Recognition

The Long Beach initiative recently received recognition and attention from the White House, out-going Governor Jerry Brown and the California State Senate. Similar programs are flourishing throughout California communities, including Fresno, the Inland Empire, Los Angeles, Ventura, Sacramento, and San Francisco. The LBCC College Promise 2.0 is one good model for the many fine programs developing around the country. I chose to highlight it because of its commitment, unique features an innovative approach and strong, visionary leadership. Among the many programs of which I am aware, this one serves as a successful example of the implementation of an important initiative that is receiving national attention and support.

Congratulations to Long Beach City College for leadership in launching the College Promise 2.0. I am proud to be an AA degree graduate of Long Beach City College.

Special thanks

Marcia Parker, Director, Community Relations and Enrollment Development, Long Beach City College, and Dr. Toni Luskin for assistance in editing and publishing this article. Thanks also to Dr. Martha Kanter, National Executive Director of the Campaign, Dr. Jill Biden, College Promise Campaign Chair, and Rosye Cloud, VP and Campaign Chief of Strategy and Innovation, and Dr. Reagan Romali, Superintendent/President, Long Beach Community College District.


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