Promising Students a Better Future: Skyline’s Promise Scholars Program helps students access education

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Skyline Community College offers a transportation incentive as part of the Promise Scholars Program offered to students since Fall 2018, through the transportation incentives, it helps students reduce transportation costs by providing free transportation cards. This program started because Skyline wants to break any obstacles for students’ educational progress.

Ellen Murray, the Director of Promise Scholars Program, outlined the specific goals of the program and how it is dedicated to helping Skyline students.

“One of the major aims of the promise scholar program is to increase our two [and] three year graduation rates,” Murray said. “it’s part of the model what we wanna do is break down any barrier that might impede a student’s progress and complete the grades.”

At the same time, Murray went on to say that joining the promise scholar program is a very easy process.

“It takes less than a minute to apply on the student WebSMART portal,” Murray said. “You apply and you don’t need any specific GPA, we are just looking for students who are really committed and focused on earning a degree and can commit to full-time enrollment for the duration of the program.”

Since fall 2018, there are currently 750 students in Skyline’s Promise Scholar Program. Of those students, the program prioritized certain groups of students which include first generation college students, homeless students and students raised in foster care. In addition, the program prioritized students based off of expected family contribution.

Julia Wang, a Skyline biochemistry student, has been with the program since it began. She knows first hand how helpful the program is.

“Before knowing Promise program, I was afraid that I will spend too much on transportation.” Wang said “This incentive gives me the motivation to study in school instead of being unproductive at home.”

While in high school, Julia was faced with the decision of where to attend between City College and Skyline. After she heard of the incentives from the Promise Scholar program, she made the decision to study at Skyline so it can reduce her parents financial pressure.

“Before knowing about the transportation incentive, I was going to get the monthly pass of Samtrans for $64.” Wang said “With the voucher, it saves up total of $768 in a year, which I can be using on other stuff. It reduces the financial pressure that my parents bare.”

In the Fall 2019, 342 students have enrolled in the Promise Scholar program. Hanan Elqossari, a business-major who is in her first year at Skyline insists the promise Scholar is one of the main reasons she wants to study here.

“I chose to attend Skyline College rather than going straight to a four year because of the promise program.” Elqossari said “Attending Skyline College and being a promise scholar is the most cost efficient solution that every student should take advantage of. Another thing I like about the promise program is the support system that it provides to students in order to ensure that everyone succeeds.”

Elqossari at the moment lives in 30 minute away from the Skyline, she says since the Promise Program cover the transportation incentives with three different voucher, transportation is no longer a barrier for her education.

“I really like how the promise program offers three different options for students including gas gift cards, Uber gift cards, and clipper cards because they provide students with different options based on their need and what is most useful to them. Elqossari said, Taking transportation into consideration is important because it can be a barrier to students who live far or can’t afford the cost of getting to school every day.

Transportation Incentives not only help students save money for transportation for school or otherwise, but it also gives students the opportunity to access the possibility of a higher education.