Public Affairs, The California State University

Promising Partnerships Promote Access

By Stephanie Thara

California’s need to produce an additional one million graduates by 2025 in order to sustain its workforce and stimulate the economy is critical. The CSU has made it a priority to establish enduring educational partnerships that will improve college readiness and access, as well as increase completion rates.

Today, nine CSU campuses have launched guaranteed admission promise programs with local school districts to build seamless pathways between K-12 schools and higher education. Admission promise programs collaborate with school districts that tend to have lower college-going rates to provide students with personalized, step-by-step plans for college preparation and guarantee admission for students meeting specific benchmarks beyond CSU admission eligibility. The programs focus on providing services and activities that better prepare students to take college courses which ultimately reduces the number of students in remediation, shortens the length of time students need to complete their degree and improves students commitment to graduate from college.

San Francisco PromiseSince the creation of the San Francisco Promise in 2008—a partnership between SF State, San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) and the San Francisco Mayor’s Office— the number of new freshmen enrolled at SF State from San Francisco public high schools has increased 52 percent. In addition to hosting a city-wide college fair where high school seniors are bused to early orientation events, the program awards 20 scholarships of $1,000 per year for four years to SFUSD graduates who attend SF State.

With the goal of having a college diploma in every Santa Ana home by 2020, Santa Ana ¡Adelante! delivers on the promise of a college education from Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine and Santa Ana College for students in the Santa Ana Unified School District. Youth enrolled in the program receive special invitations to visit the campus and use its amenities, and regularly receive information and advice about admission requirements and financial aid from Cal State Fullerton outreach officers.

PACE PromiseThrough the efforts of CSU San Marcos (CSUSM) and San Marcos Unified School District’s joint program, PACE Promise, the number of students applying to CSUSM has tripled since 2005. Events such as campus tours, workshop sessions on admissions/financial aid and forums where middle and high school students can speak to current CSUSM students guide youth in getting to college, succeeding academically at the university and thriving in their future careers.

Other CSU campuses with guaranteed admission promise programs include Fresno State, Cal State L.A., Cal State Long Beach, CSU Monterey Bay, CSU San Bernardino and San Diego State.