The Skyline College Promise Scholars Program continues to build momentum as it prepares to double its cohort in fall 2018. The program, which is the college’s commitment to provide a full scholarship and comprehensive support services for first time, full time students for one year, is a key component of the college’s comprehensive redesign aimed at empowering more students to reach their educational goal on time. All elements of the redesign are part of the College’s replication of the City University of New York (CUNY) Accelerated Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) model, which will launch here on our campus beginning in fall 2018.
The decision to replicate the ASAP model represents a transformational opportunity for Skyline College, and one that comes as a result of years of careful study. The ASAP model itself is a successful initiate proven to increase timely graduation rates among community college students. ASAP students at CUNY graduate from college within three years at more than double the rates of students who do not participate. To date, across seven cohorts, ASAP has an average graduation rate of 53.2%, in contrast to only 24.1% graduating of comparison group students. These results speak for themselves and provide a driving force for the work being done at Skyline College.
The Skyline College Promise Scholars Program piloted key components of the ASAP model in Fall 2016 (with 139 participating students) and in Fall 2017 (with 253 participating students). The program currently provides students with dedicated counselors, fee waivers and book support for the first full year (Fall, Spring and the following Summer semester) of college.
So far, the Promise Scholars Program has seen a positive impact on student persistence. For students who participated in the program in Fall of 2016, 96.4% persisted to the Spring 2017 semester (only 81.6% of the comparison group persisted). From Fall 2016 to Fall 2017, Promise Scholars achieved a persistence rate of 82% (only 60.5% of the comparison group persisted). While it is a little too early in the semester to report results on the Fall 2017 cohort’s persistence rate, it is expected to be above 90% from the Fall 2017 to the Spring 2018 semester. Ultimately, the Program hopes to substantial increase graduation and successful transfer (CSU GE or IGETC completion) rates within both 2-year and 3-year timelines for participating students.
The Promise Scholars Program team welcomed Scholars back for the start of the Spring 2018 semester with new supports and renewed access to lending library materials. Kim Davalos and Ivan Silva, both Promise Scholars Program counselors, will offer drop-in counseling to students and are excited to launch group advising sessions – a new component of the ASAP replication model – to Scholars this semester. Jessica Lopez, the Promise Scholars Program career counselor, will offer additional workshops and 1-to-1 appointments to Scholars looking to further their professional and career goals.
In Fall 2018, the Skyline College Promise Scholars Programs will expand to serve 500 students and implement final components of the ASAP model, including monthly transportation incentives, blocked courses, and a peer mentoring program. In an effort to reach a broader range of students, the Marketing, Communications, and Public Relations team at Skyline College has launched a comprehensive marketing campaign centered around the tagline “We’ve got your back.” This campaign aims to capture a youthful, friendly tone that catches eyes and sparks imagination. With marketing collateral appearing in traditional, digital and social media, the campaign will continue to run throughout the rest of the school year and beyond. Lauren Ford, campus recruiter, has helped strengthen relationships with surrounding high schools, and will provide on-site support for feeder high school students interested in matriculating into Skyline College and applying to the Promise Scholars Program.
The application for the Fall 2018 Promise Scholars Program is open on WebSMART, and prospective students can find information about eligibility and applying to the program here. The program has already received more than 65 applications, so please encourage interested students to apply for the program as soon as possible.
Article by Ellen Murray