The Long Beach College Promise could “create a sea of change” in the California Education system, University President Jane Close Conoley said in a press release Friday.
“I want to thank Governor Brown for his vision in creating the Innovation Award,” Conoley said.
Out of 14 finalists and 58 applicants in total, the Long Beach College Promise received $5 million and the highest score in Gov. Jerry Brown’s $50 million Awards for Innovation in Higher Education.
In conjunction with Long Beach City College and the Long Beach Unified School District, California State University, Long Beach formed the Long Beach College Promise in 2008 to help expedite graduation rates in Long Beach colleges. Long Beach City joined the program about one year ago. The program intends to align itself with Brown’s initiative to increase timeliness of California graduation rates from six to four years, Carbaugh said.
The Long Beach College Promise intends to get LBUSD students interested in college from an early age. The program requires fourth and fifth graders to visit the LBCC and CSULB campuses. Since the program’s creation, over 26,000 elementary school children have visited both campuses, according to data released by the Long Beach College Promise. Eligible students also receive a free semester at LBCC and guaranteed admission to CSULB.
“This is further evidence that the Long Beach College Promise is an outstanding, effective program, and it’s also a great opportunity to expand and enhance the support we provide to our students,” Mayor Robert Garcia said in the press release.
According to data released by CSULB about College Promise efforts, students who reduce their graduation time by one semester at CSULB save about $10,000. Carbaugh said that by working with LBUSD and LBCC, College Promise could reduce “time to degree” for half of the LBUSD students by preparing them well enough to skip remedial classes upon college admittance.
“You really have to share trust with your sister systems to get a program like this running,” Carbaugh said.
In the past three years, LBCC students following the alternative assessment model, in which transcripts can exempt them from remedial courses, collectively tested out of 1,200 semesters. Similarly, CSULB’s Highly Valued Degrees Initiative aims to reduce graduation rates of former LBUSD students from 5.2 years to 4.7.
The number of LBUSD students enrolled at CSULB has increased by 43 percent since the College Promise Initiate began seven years ago.
“This is a win-win for our region,” Conoley said in the press release. “And as we scale-up these practices, it will be a win-win for the state and nation.”
The Long Beach College Promise partners intend to use the grant from Gov. Jerry Brown on “needed resources,” Christopher Steinhauser, the Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent, said Friday in a press release.
“We’re excited to receive this significant funding and the recognition that comes with it,” Steinhauser said.
Carbaugh said that she did not yet know how the money from the award would be spent.