Winter 2007, Community College League of CaliforniaThe NEWS
"Ventura Promise" Breaks New Ground
Ventura College is expanding a groundbreaking program that promises to pay all college enrollment fees to all newly graduated high school students, regardless of family income. The one-year-old program, "Ventura Promise," paid fees for graduating high school seniors in the college's service area during their first year of attendance whose family income was less than $50,000. This same promise will now be extended to all students, regardless of income, who have successfully completed their GED requirements or who have completed the coursework for high school but have not yet passed their exit exam. Expenses covered by the Ventura Promise include the per-unit cost of classes, the health fee. the student center fee, and the cost of an associated student body card.
According to President Robin Calote, Ventura Promise is designed to remove the economic barriers to education for graduating high school seniors, improve the college-going rate in the college service area and enhance the quality of the workforce.
Said Calote, "Ventura College is proud to partner with our foundation and supportive local companies to ensure open access for the first year of college education for any qualifying student who lives in our service area. Enrollment fees should not be a barrier to achieving academic success. We hope this will help students get financial assistance they need."
Torn Anthony, chair of the foundation board, said, This is the largest commitment the foundation board has made in support of students. The Promise Program is consistent with the board's resolve to reduce the impediments to students wanting to further their education. We hope, eventually, to be able to expand the Promise to cover the first two years of a qualifying student's attendance, including their textbooks. This is the second step in extending the Promise towards meeting that goal." The foundation has committed $500,000 of its existing assets to the program. The Ventura Promise served 80 students this semester at a cost of less than $10,000.