Berkeley City College Learning Communities Counselor Skylar Barton and a Promise scholar.

Berkeley City College Learning Communities Counselor Skylar Barton and a Promise scholar.

The Challenge

Obtaining an education beyond high school has never been more important. Studies show that those with only a high school education face increasing disadvantages in hiring, and a growing pay gap, with those with post-secondary training. It is estimated that of the 55 million jobs created in the United States in the next decade, 65 percent will require post-secondary education.

At the same time, the cost of higher education keeps rising, reducing access for many. Students who are first-generation-to-college or  low-income families are much less likely to finish college on time, or at all, due to financial constraints and other challenges.

Among Berkeley Unified School District students who graduated in 2010:

  • Less than a quarter of economically disadvantaged students had completed a degree within six years compared with over 50 percent of students who had parental or other financial support.

  • Only 14 percent of African American students and 33 percent of Latino students completed a degree in six years, compared to 68 percent of white students.

  • Lack of economic and other support plays a major role in these disparate rates of completion. Students who are working full-time or experiencing food or housing insecurity are not able to give their full attention to their studies. A recent study of students at seven California community colleges found that one third of students were housing insecure or homeless, and 12 percent were food insecure.

  • Students that are first-generation-to-college, from low-income families, or from groups underrepresented in higher education are much less likely to finish college on time, or at all, due to financial constraints and other challenges.
     

The Solution

The Berkeley Promise is designed to increase the number of Berkeley students with post-secondary degrees and credentials.

By providing students with the resources they need to complete a post-secondary degree or certificate,  the Berkeley Promise has the potential to transform the futures for hundreds of students!

In high school students have access to early college credit through dual or concurrent enrollment.  During their first two years at Berkeley City College, students interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree can apply for a $1,500 scholarship, group mentoring and transfer support. Students who transfer to a four-year college or university are eligible to apply for an additional $8,000 in scholarship funds and receive one-on-one mentoring and support to help them succeed.

Students not interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree can enroll in one of many exciting work training or certificate programs offered at BCC and other Peralta campuses. Through the recently passed California Promise (AB19),  EVERY first-time community college student receives one year of free community college tuition, putting them on the path to college and career success.