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Skyline’s Promise Scholar Program Displays Progress

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Skyline’s Promise Scholar Program Displays Progress

Illustration by Kylea Pearson

Illustration by Kylea Pearson

Illustration by Kylea Pearson

Illustration by Kylea Pearson

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Skyline Community College established a program that began during the fall semester of 2016 titled the “Promise Scholars Program”. This program is based on a similar support system for students in the City University of New York school system named “Accelerated Studies in Associate Programs” otherwise known as ASAP which began in 2007.

According to the CUNY “ASAP Evaluation Summary and Program Overview,” it states exactly how successful it is in helping students achieve graduation. “ASAP students graduate at more than double the rates of non-ASAP students. To date, across eight cohorts, ASAP has an average graduation rate of 53.4 percent vs. 24.6 percent of comparison group students.”

With extensive research based on CUNY’s model, Skyline has chosen to replicate and adapt it, along with the addition of other changes to Skyline’s teaching and counseling, in what is declared as, “The Skyline College Promise”. Although, with the hopes of fully adapting the program from the East Coast to the West Coast there were some adaptive changes that directors at Skyline came to in order to provide easier access and support for first-time students within California.

Ellen Murray, director of the Skyline Promise Scholars Program, provides some information as to what changes were made in order to adjust to the student population of Skyline College.

“I’d say the biggest difference is our approach, at CUNY they were more focused on students who wanted to obtain their associate degree,” Murray said. “In looking at the students we serve here we really wanted to be more inclusive about who we were serving in this program, the point is to get some sort of certification.”.

With this change in students that Skyline serves it is estimated there will be a larger group of students to appeal towards, making it more inclusive for students that may not only want their associates degree. The Skyline Promise has also encountered difficulties with funding since the program requires is not funded from the city or state, whereas CUNY is funded by both non-profits, city, and state.

Cherie Colin, the director of community relations and marketing for Skyline College, expressed the challenges in establishing the program without concrete funding.

“We are trying to figure out long term funding now, and luckily the district has committed to funding it now and at least 2,000 students district wide next year will have the opportunity to get their college degree for free,” Colin said.

With this grant, the distribution would allow for 750 students in Skyline, 750 students at CSM, and 300 students in Cañada to register for the program. The goal of Skyline’s Promise Program has been, in a way, as more students are provided the ability to obtain a higher education. The ultimate goal, however, is to not only make the benefits of the Promise Program better, but to also hopefully provide those benefits to the general population of students in the SMCCCD.

Luis Escobar, the dean of counseling, expressed his excitement for the application of the promise program to the general population.

“One of the pieces that I’m most excited about in doing it to scale is that the counseling model that we are utilizing is an adaptation of the Promise Scholars counseling model where it’s kind of a needs-based counseling approach,” Escobar said. “For example, the students that need the most support are students that counselors are going to spend most of their time within their caseload.”

Essentially, the Skyline Promise program is showing extensive progress with the completion of the Promise Scholars Program.

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Skyline’s Promise Scholar Program Displays Progress