El Camino College South Bay Promise to Welcome Largest Class this Fall
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El Camino College South Bay Promise to Welcome Largest Class this Fall

El Camino College will welcome nearly 800 new students to campus this fall via a newly expanded South Bay Promise program. These students are part of the largest group ever to participate in this initiative designed to improve college access and affordability for recent high school graduates by waiving enrollment fees for two years. 

The college’s efforts to expand the South Bay Promise are exceeding expectations. Exiting high school seniors this past spring expressed a strong interest in the program, submitting more than 2,000 applications for fall 2019. This is a significant increase from the initial group of 12 students when the program launched in 2014. 

This year, the South Bay Promise expanded to include all first-time, full-time college students (regardless of school district) who complete the steps for eligibility and attend El Camino College the fall after their senior year. Also new this year, ECC will now waive enrollment fees for both year one and year two at the college. In addition, students have access to counseling and support services as they work to transfer to a university or pursue a rewarding career. 

“The South Bay Promise is a partnership between El Camino College and the students who enroll,” said El Camino College President Dena P. Maloney. “Our promise to students is to invest in their education – we are investing in them. Part of our promise is to offer a college education without the burden of enrollment fees, but the South Bay Promise is much bigger than that – it is about success. We promise to help students complete their goals, while ensuring they remain valued and connected members of the El Camino College community.” 

Comprehensive outreach efforts to middle schools and high schools have resulted in tremendous growth beyond the goal of 700 students this year. To help incoming students with the transition, the college has doubled the number of support programs included in the South Bay Promise to ensure that all students are part of a group they can turn to for help when needed. Tutoring, mentoring, internships, and research projects are just a few of the opportunities available to students. 

Financial aid literacy is also part of the program, and students attended summer workshops to learn how to navigate this important program. Many students have also applied for an El Camino College scholarship. Through a partnership with the ECC Foundation Office, the scholarship application opened early this year to give South Bay Promise students an opportunity to apply for a scholarship in the next academic year. The El Camino College Foundation Scholarship Program assists students campuswide with scholarships that cover fees, textbooks and other educational expenses. This year's Foundation Scholarship Program will award more than $600,000 in scholarships to over 550 El Camino College students for the 2019-20 academic year.

Within the South Bay Promise, about 80% of participants identified as being first-generation college students, that is, students whose parents did not graduate from a four-year college or university. El Camino College is focused on responding to and supporting the fast-growing first-generation college student population on campus so they know that ECC is a place where they belong and where they can succeed. Support activities and events are planned for the fall, including a “First-Gen Awareness Week,” among others. 

A South Bay Promise welcome reception for students and families to learn more about El Camino College’s academic and support programs is planned for Aug. 5.

The fall 2019 semester at El Camino College begins Aug. 24. The class schedule is available at www.elcamino.edu/academics/schedule.aspx. Registration at El Camino College is ongoing; students are encouraged to apply and register online as soon as possible at www.elcamino.edu. Fees are only $46 per unit. For more information about the South Bay Promise, view:  http://www.elcamino.edu/student/studentservices/southbaypromise/.

August 5, 219