Foundation Announces “Promising” Season for Ventura College Students

Ventura, Calif. – Ventura College Foundation is accepting applications for its Ventura College Promise Grant Program, which will give nearly 1,000 Ventura County high school graduates their first year of Ventura College free of charge. Designed to eliminate economic barriers to higher education for graduating Ventura County high school seniors and students who receive their GED, the Promise encourages students to further their education and reach their academic goals.

For the 2016/2017 academic year, the VC Promise grant program served 946 students, providing $329,000 in financial assistance. So far this year, the Foundation has received 744 Promise applications. The Foundation will continue to accept additional applications until all grant funds are awarded.

More than half of Promise program students are low income and first in their family to attend college. “The VC Promise is unique. In addition to providing financial assistance, it removes many barriers to higher education and provides students with critical support, so they can complete college,” said VC Foundation’s Jaimee Hanna.

“We connect students with health services, a food pantry and academic counseling,” Hanna said. “In addition, the Foundation’s textbook lending program saves students hundreds of dollars.” Promise students can also participate in the Promise Peer Mentoring program, where a peer mentor is available to answer questions and provide guidance.

The Ventura College Promise program, launched during the 2005-06 school year, was the first Promise program offered in California. Since its inception, the VC Promise has served 13,000 students, providing a total of $3 million in financial assistance.

With more than a decade of success, Ventura College Foundation has been able to study the educational achievements of the VC Promise program.

“VC Promise students stay in school after the first year at double the rate of non-Promise students. They take 25 percent more credits and are 70 percent more successful in earning a degree or certificate in four years than non-Promise students,” said Anne King, VC Foundation executive director.

King pointed out that the VC Promise is special because part-time students are also eligible. “That’s key because so often it’s the poorest students who attend part-time and having access to the Promise grant, as well as its support services, helps them succeed,” she explained.

While the Promise program is open to all students, regardless of need, many of its grant recipients would not otherwise have the financial means to attend college. Students come from throughout the county, with the highest numbers coming from Oxnard, Santa Paula and Ventura.

King pointed out that by improving the college-going rate in the community, we help enhance the quality of our local workforce. The most popular areas of study for Promise students are nursing, business, psychology and engineering.

Established in 1983, the Ventura College Foundation provides financial support to the students and the programs of Ventura College to facilitate student success and grow the impact and legacy of Ventura College as a vital community asset. The Foundation also hosts the Ventura College Foundation Marketplace, an outdoor shopping experience held every weekend on the Ventura College campus east parking lot. For more information, contact Anne King at (805) 289-6160 or aking@vcccd.edu. Or visit www.venturacollege.edu/foundation.