Tuesday, November 30, 2021     Volume: 22, Issue: 39
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Santa Maria Sun / News

The following article was posted on October 13th, 2021, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 22, Issue 33 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 22, Issue 33

Hancock College extends Promise program to two years

By Taylor O'Connor

As spring semester registration opens in early November, Allan Hancock College wants its students to take advantage of the new Promise Plus Program and get the college to cover their tuition for two years. 

This program—an expansion of 2018’s Promise Program—helps students complete an associate’s program, a transfer degree, or a certificate, Student Services Vice President Dr. Nohemy Ornelas said. 

“The Promise Plus Program is available to any student coming to Hancock who faced challenges due to the pandemic,” Ornelas said. “As we [re-opened] our programs and services, we wanted to remind our community that we are here to serve them.” 


PROMISE PLUS
The new tuition coverage program includes book vouchers and grants to help pay for class requirement expenses.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ALLAN HANCOCK COLLEGE

The Promise Plus covers the $1,200 per semester tuition and fees, but doesn’t include living expenses, books, and supplies, Ornelas said. The 2018 Promise Program worked with local schools to expose students—from fifth graders to seniors in high school—to college opportunities, Ornelas said. 

“We wanted to create a college-going culture in our community. There were a lot of initiatives not only across the state, but nationally, for an agenda to promote free colleges to students and a need to change the trajectory for our students,” Ornelas said. 

Through donors and private funds, Hancock paid for the first year of college for its students and helped students through their transition from high school to college, she said. In response, Hancock had 3,000 students visit its campus and 1,300 students received tuition aid. 

“It was a comprehensive approach focusing on completion of an academic program, and enhancing services on campus in efforts to retain students and see them graduate,” Ornelas said. 

The pandemic created many setbacks for students and loss of participation in the Promise Program. COVID-19 higher education emergency relief funds allowed the college to expand its program to the two-year tuition coverage for the fall 2021 semester, but will end after the 2022-23 academic year, Ornelas said.

“We are continuing to evaluate our situation to determine our feasibility to continue this program. The funds we are using for Promise Plus are [one-time] emergency relief funds,” Ornelas said. 

To receive Promise Plus tuition funds, students must fill out their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and register for at least 12 credits. Once they meet the criteria, students are automatically notified of their status and eligibility, Ornelas said. If students have questions, they can be directed to the Promise Plus webpage, or call its hotline at (805) 922-6966, Ext. 3248.

“This is another resource for our students to access higher education opportunities; creating this pathway is a really good thing for them,” Ornelas said.










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