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September 5, 2018 Ryan Brown
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1,000 Students to Receive Free Education with San José Promise
(San José, Calif.) —As students return to class for the start of fall term at San José City College and Evergreen Valley College, nearly 1,000 of them are having all of their expenses covered by San José Promise, a program that was launched in a partnership between San José – Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD) and the office of San José Mayor Sam Liccardo in 2017.
San José Promise is designed to ensure that not only do more San José students have access to higher education than ever before, but that they are better prepared at the college level and have the student support programs in place to be successful in their educational pursuits.
"We're very excited to see the continued growth of San José Promise," said Dr. Byron D. Clift Breland, interim SJECCD chancellor. "Not only do the nearly 1,000 participating students gain from the program, but our entire community is enhanced as more and more local students have access to higher education and all of the benefits that come along with it, including more career opportunities, higher wages, and an overall better quality of life. Our Promise program is also unique because it offers up to two years of free education, whereas almost all other programs in the state offer only one."
"At a time when college remains a daunting financial challenge for most families, San José Promise has helped make college affordable and accessible for more of our promising students," said Mayor Sam Liccardo. "I'd like to thank and congratulate Chancellor Breland and the entire SJECCD team for their commitment to eliminating financial barriers to college. And in the months ahead, we'll keep pushing to expand San José Promise so that a college education is financially attainable for all San José students."
Of the 1,000 students participating in San José Promise, nearly half are entering their second year of the program after being part of the inaugural Promise cohort in 2017-2018. These students are on track to earn an associate degree and be eligible for transfer to a four-year university with no out-of-pocket cost to themselves or their families.
"I'm incredibly grateful for San José Promise because participating in this program has allowed me to succeed academically," said Austin Escobedo, a San José Promise student entering his second year at San José City College, where he is majoring in physics. "With the coverage of tuition, textbooks, and other resources, I am able to dedicate all of my time and energy toward my goal of becoming an aerospace engineer. And with the help of San José Promise, I know I will achieve this lofty goal for myself and my family."
A new feature of San José Promise this year is a web-based mentoring program that provides students and mentors the ability to connect online or in person, thereby minimizing time and transportation barriers. By adding mentoring to their academic program, students will be well-prepared for the workforce and leave college having already established professional contacts in their chosen field.
While expanding the program to almost 1,000 students in only its second year marks a great success for the Promise, Dr. Clift Breland believes the program still has room for growth. "We'd like to see every student who graduates from a high school in San José have the opportunity to attend college for free," he said. "We are feverishly working toward that goal, and with great partners like Mayor Liccardo we are confident we'll get there."
More information and an online application are available at www.sanjosepromise.org.
About San José – Evergreen Community College District
Located in vibrant downtown San José in the heart of Silicon Valley, the San José – Evergreen Community College District (SJECCD) encompasses more than 300 square miles, including a large portion of the City of San José and all of the City of Milpitas. The District includes the areas served by Milpitas and San José Unified School Districts, together with East Side Union High School District. SJECCD is comprised of: Evergreen Valley College, established in 1975; San José City College, the first community college in Santa Clara County, established in 1921; the Community College Center for Economic Mobility (previously known as the Workforce Institute), established in 1988, and the San José – Evergreen Community College Extension at Milpitas, established in 2016. For more information, visit www.sjeccd.edu.