Allan Hancock College Promise Program Nominated for Prestigious Bellwether Award

The college was recognized in the Instructional Programs and Services category

JANUARY 28, 2019--Allan Hancock College is one of only 10 colleges nationwide nominated for the prestigious 2019 Bellwether Award. The annual awards are part of the Community College Futures Assembly, a consortium established in 1995 and sponsored by the Institute of Higher Education at the University of Florida to share best practices and innovative programs in higher education. Of more than 1,200 community colleges nationwide, Hancock was nominated in the Instructional Programs and Services category for The Hancock Promise and selected as a top 10 finalist.

“I am extremely proud of this nomination as it recognizes the extraordinary efforts of our staff and faculty who created this program,” said Allan Hancock College Superintendent/President Kevin G. Walthers, Ph. D. “Hancock is dedicated to student success and The Hancock Promise is breaking down financial barriers to higher education every day for our local high school graduates. We know The Promise has opened up educational opportunities that would otherwise not be an option, and I’m thrilled that the Assembly recognizes The Hancock Promise’s value to our students and their success.”

Winners of the Bellwether Award will be announced in February.

The Allan Hancock College Promise Program launched in the fall of 2017, with Bulldog Bound, an innovative outreach program for local students in the fifth through eighth grades. In fall 2018, more than 1,400 local high school graduates were provided with the opportunity to attain their first year at Hancock tuition and fee-free. In The Promise’s first semester, the college saw an increased enrollment of nearly 500 first-time high school graduates.

The Hancock Promise includes four phases. First is Bulldog Bound, which focuses on creating a college-going culture among fifth-through-eighth grade students. The Path to Promise helps high school students prepare for college success via workshops and outreach events at Hancock. Receiving The Promise during their first year is the third step. The final phase – the Extended Promise – occurs during a students’ second year at AHC and includes support resources in order to ensure continued student success.

“Our Promise program is unique because we begin at the elementary level and follow students all the way through their higher education journey at Hancock,” said Walthers. “We’ve already been contacted by other colleges in the state that are looking to duplicate The Hancock Promise. It’s a formula that works no matter the demographic or location.”

The enrollment of first-time high school graduates at Hancock increased at nearly all local high schools this past fall. The following schools saw these increases in the numbers of students attending: Santa Ynez 56 students (124 percent increase); Delta 100 students (79 percent increase); Pioneer Valley 362 students (60 percent increase); Righetti 269 students (57 percent increase); Cabrillo 143 students (46 percent increase); Lompoc 148 students (45 percent increase); St. Joseph 30 students (43 percent increase); Orcutt Academy 82 students (34 percent increase); and Santa Maria 296 students (21 percent increase).

Promise students enjoy the benefits of saving at least $1,200 over the course of a year, and are allowed to sign up for classes early with priority registration.

To qualify for The Promise, students must commit to activities that are proven to enhance academic success. Students applying for The Promise this spring must register for a minimum of 12 units in both the fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters at Hancock, maintain a 2.0 grade point average in the fall, and complete at least one English and one math class during the first year, if required for their major. Students planning to attend Hancock in the fall of 2019 can apply now and register for courses beginning May 8. The semester starts August 19.

The Hancock Promise is made possible through the generosity of community leaders, local businesses, community foundations, organizations, and donors. In December 2017, the Allan Hancock College Foundation launched a $10 million endowment campaign designed to ensure, in perpetuity, that all qualifying students have the opportunity to attend college. To date, more than $3.5 million has been committed to The Hancock Promise from local Promise partners.

- AHC -

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Last Modified Jan 28, 2019