California State University, Long Beach
Inside CSULB Logo

Successes Of College Promise Shared

Published: October 3, 2016

Students of Long Beach Unified School District

Long Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser, Long Beach City College (LBCC) Superintendent-President Eloy Ortiz Oakley, CSULB President Jane Close Conoley and Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia gathered at the Hotel Maya in Long Beach on Sept. 22 to share successes of The Long Beach College Promise during a celebration event.

The leaders provided updates on the progress of The Promise, including data about college readiness, college enrollment, guaranteed college admission, tuition-free courses, internships and early childhood education. State Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell, who chairs the Assembly Education Committee, received the College Promise Champion Award for his efforts to help fund replication of The Promise statewide. The Port of Long Beach was recognized as a Promise Partner for its support of the initiative through internships and other programs. Also, at the annual event, officials awarded 24 scholarships ranging from $50 to $250 to eighth graders who have shown academic improvement.

In less than a decade The Long Beach College Promise has become a national model, influencing President Obama’s America’s College Promise and dozens of local initiatives throughout California and the nation. Most recently, the U.S. Department of Education released its September 2016 The America’s College Promise Playbook featuring Long Beach among exemplary programs.

Local leaders detailed several other recent successes at the event.

At the K-12 level:

  • Students in LBUSD signed up for more than 13,000 Advanced Placement college-level exams in 2016, an 82.4 percent increase in four years.
  • Class of 2016 graduates in LBUSD earned $93.6 million in scholarships and grants, a five-fold increase since a decade ago.
  • About 75 percent of LBUSD’s high school graduates now enroll in college within one year (and 80 percent within two years).

At the community college level:

  • Nearly 13,000 students have received a free semester of college at LBCC.
  • In 2016, LBCC expanded its tuition-free education to one full academic year for qualified LBUSD graduates.
  • Of the LBUSD seniors who go on to enroll at a two-year college, 88 percent enroll at LBCC.

At the university level:

  • The number of LBUSD graduates enrolling at CSULB has increased by 71 percent since the inception of The Promise.
  • Graduation rates at CSULB have significantly increased for Latinos, African Americans and Asians

Citywide:

  • Approximately 2,600 internships have been added.
  • Approximately 900 additional children have enrolled in preschool.

Eight years ago, LBUSD, LBCC and CSULB committed to The Long Beach College Promise, extending the promise of a college education to every LBUSD student. The City of Long Beach signed onto a renewed and expanded version of The Promise in October 2014. The Promise aims to fulfill the potential of all youth by providing continuous support along every step of the student experience, from pre-K through college and onto career and life. The effort has produced significant gains in college readiness and enrollment, attracting the attention of policy makers at the state and national levels.

Elements of The Promise include:

  • Increased access to early childhood education
  • College tours for all fourth and fifth graders
  • A middle school pledge by students and parents, committing to college readiness
  • A tuition-free year at LBCC
  • Guaranteed admission to CSULB for LBUSD graduates who meet minimum requirements

What local education and city leaders say:

“Today is a celebration of our students, who are wisely taking advantage of the opportunities that The Long Beach College Promise offers,” said LBUSD Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser. “More students are excelling in advanced, college prep coursework in high school, and more of our graduates are enrolling in college right here in Long Beach. Congratulations to these students and to everyone who contributes to their success.”

“The Long Beach College Promise has shown great results since we began the formal partnership in 2008, and the initiative has become a model for other communities–now more than 100 nationwide and 23 in California alone. The $15 million budgeted through Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell’s legislation will give a tremendous boost to communities throughout the state as they launch their own promise programs,” said Eloy Ortiz Oakley, LBCC president and incoming chancellor of the 113-school California Community Colleges system.

“The Promise has more than doubled the number of internships in Long Beach and dramatically increased preschool and early childhood education enrollment,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “We should celebrate that success and we have to continue investing in education and supporting Long Beach students.”

“One goal of The Long Beach College Promise is to remove barriers and increase affordability for students, providing those who wish to graduate in four years the ability to do so,” said CSULB President Jane Close Conoley. “That goal is shared by Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell. From his time as a teacher and throughout his rise from Long Beach City councilmember to his current role as the chair of the Assembly Education Committee, Patrick has remained steadfastly dedicated to education. I am proud that one of our own has been selected to receive this honor.”

For more information, visit the Long Beach College Promise website.