The news release below was sent by the Biden Foundation and College Promise Campaign. Read DCCCD's news release on the national launch of Dallas County Promise.
DALLAS (May 2, 2018) — The Dallas County Promise celebrated its launch today at Adamson High School in Dallas. This unprecedented collaboration between school districts, colleges, universities, workforce, non-profits and the philanthropic community was created to change the future of education and workforce development in Dallas County by producing more college and career-ready graduates. The Promise is committed to achieving equitable outcomes for students, families and communities by reducing the financial burden of college for all students, regardless of income or GPA. Dr. Jill Biden, a community college professor and Second Lady of the United States (2009-2017), attended today’s event and celebrated with students who have pledged to go to college and will benefit from the Dallas County Promise.
“I’ve seen it time and time again in my own classroom: the chance to go to college is life-changing for students and their families,” said Dr. Biden, who serves as Honorary Chair of the College Promise Campaign’s National Advisory Board. “With a dynamic scholarship, mentoring and support from partnering organizations, the Dallas County Promise is giving local students the chance to attend school, complete their education, expand their career choices, and build lives that are more financially secure. That’s not just good for them — it strengthens the Dallas workforce and helps build a more prosperous economy for all of North Texas. And with today’s launch, I hope communities throughout the state and the nation will be inspired to create a program of their own.”
Other national and local leaders took part in the event and discussed the potential of the Dallas County Promise to boost the workforce and the economy in North Texas. Those taking part in this event included College Promise Campaign Executive Director, Dr. Martha J. Kanter, Dallas Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Dallas County Community College District Chancellor Dr. Joe May, and Bob Mong, President of the University of North Texas at Dallas.
“Dallas County is joining a rapidly growing movement to make a community college education as universal and free as high school has been for a century,” said Dr. Kanter. “I am gratified to see that Dallas County leaders from education, philanthropy, business, and government have worked together to design and fund this innovative Promise to make college more affordable so students can acquire the knowledge and skills they need to be prepared for the workforce and advance in their communities. This dynamic collaboration in one of the nation’s largest community college districts will inspire other communities and states to follow their lead. A high school education is no longer enough for a good job and a decent quality of life.”
The Dallas County Promise was inspired by the non-partisan College Promise Campaign which launched in 2015 to build widespread support for communities and states to make a community college or technical education as universal and free as public high school. Since the launch of the campaign, the number of College Promise programs throughout the nation has more than quadrupled with more than 200 Programs underway in 44 states including 16 statewide programs.
“The Dallas County Promise serves as a model for other communities and states to consider as they build affordable pathways and provide support for students to start and complete a community college or technical education,” said former Gov. Jim Geringer (R-WY), Vice Chair of the College Promise Campaign's National Advisory Board. “By alleviating financial burdens and providing students with mentoring, career guidance, and academic support, the Dallas County Promise is set to better ensure that students not only start and complete their studies, but are well-prepared for in-demand careers. A true promise only works when students complete their degrees, further their education and advance into the workforce and through the rest of their lives.”
Dallas County Promise began as a pilot in the fall of 2017 with 31 high schools in Dallas County, representing 9,300 high school seniors. At its core, the Promise is a last dollar, full-tuition scholarship for an associate’s degree (the first and second years of college) provided by the Dallas County Community College District Foundation to every high school student, regardless of family income or grade point average.
DCCCD’s effort is being matched with tuition-free scholarships provided by UNT Dallas, plus other partner public and private universities for students’ junior and senior years.
Equally important, the Promise will include a coordinated effort to promote career awareness in high schools and higher education institutions with the goal to better align credentials students are seeking with current high-demand jobs. Those efforts will be supported by a framework of non-profit staff members, and will include mentoring and support from a student success coach as well as robust data support to drive the goal of owning the educational outcome for every Dallas County Promise student.
“More than 18,000 high school students who graduate annually from Dallas County high schools fail to complete a post-secondary education credential within six years,” said Dr. Eric Ban, Managing Director, Dallas County Promise.
Ban added, “Dallas County Promise is more than just a scholarship – it’s a growing partnership that removes the friction and frustration from an education system which often leads students and parents to give up on their dreams. One city in America is going to be the first to solve the talent equation and do it with equity. Why not Dallas?”
In its next phase, Dallas County Promise plans to expand into 12 new high schools across the county including schools in Dallas, Duncanville, Irving, Carrollton-Farmers Branch, Grand Prairie and Garland ISDs. The program will also work with its coalition of partners to bring stronger college programming into its Promise high schools to make the transition from high school to college as seamless as possible and also to have and clear and achievable path to college and beyond.
The real value of Dallas County Promise is its power to bring people together from all sectors and professions so that they can solve the college completion challenge,” said Dr. Joe May, DCCCD’s chancellor and a member of the College Promise Campaign’s advisory board. May added, “Even though Dallas County is one of the fastest growing economic regions in the country, the number of people living in poverty has increased 42% over the last 15 years. Finishing high school can be a challenge. Going to college, for some, isn’t something they’ve even considered. They don’t have the money for tuition, they have transportation and child care problems, and they may not have enough to eat. Dallas County Promise and its network are determined to remove those barriers.”
“I am very grateful for all the leaders and institutions involved in bringing the Dallas County Promise opportunity to Dallas ISD seniors,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Michael Hinojosa. “This program will open endless doors to our students, regardless of their family income and academic grades, and will help them to bring their dream of pursuing a college degree to fruition without having to worry about the financial cost. Partnerships like this one make it possible to achieve our mission to prepare students for college and career success.”
To learn more about Dallas County Promise, visit DallasCountyPromise.org.
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The College Promise Campaign is a nonpartisan, nonprofit higher education initiative that builds widespread support for funding the first two years of a community college education for all hardworking students. Chaired by Dr. Jill Biden and former Governor Jim Geringer (R-WY), the Campaign works to build broad public support that community college education is an investment in America’s future and a necessary continuation of K-12 education. In the 21st century, a high school diploma is no longer enough to lead Americans to a good job and decent quality of life. CPC is an initiative of Civic Nation, a 501(c)(3) organized exclusively for charitable and educational purposes. Learn more about the College Promise and the Campaign at CollegePromise.org.
The Dallas County Community College District, founded in 1965, comprises seven individually-accredited colleges: Brookhaven, Cedar Valley, Eastfield, El Centro, Mountain View, North Lake and Richland. All DCCCD colleges offer online learning. The district serves more than 83,000 credit and 25,000 continuing education students during the fall and spring semesters. DCCCD also offers dual credit for students in partner high schools and early college high schools throughout Dallas County. Dr. Joe May, the district's 7th chancellor, has established the DCCCD higher education network in partnership with area school districts, colleges and universities, businesses, community organizations and others to support student success and college completion by removing barriers and providing services that help them earn a college credential and start their professional careers.