Donor Awareness Series introduces tuition free education program

SAN ANTONIO (March 26, 2019) – It was nearly standing-room only at the Area Foundation’s Donor Awareness Series held March 22. The well-attended event introduced donors, educators, nonprofit leaders and community collaborators to AlamoPROMISE, a new initiative of Alamo Colleges District. 

AlamoPROMISE plans to provide tuition free education for eligible students in Bexar County who are seeking an associate degree, transferring into the system, seeking a certification, or seeking job training. AlamoPROMISE grew out of the national 2015 College Promise Campaign, which has become increasingly popular. 

According to the College Promise Campaign report, program launches have more than quadrupled since the campaign was introduced and received bipartisan support during the Obama administration. Now, more than 300 College Promise programs are available in 44 states. Martha Kanter, former U.S. Under Secretary of Education and Mike Flores, chancellor of Alamo Colleges presented at the event.

Kanter, executive director of the College Promise Campaign said, “In the 21st century, a high school education is not enough to lead Americans to a good job and a decent quality of life.” She added that higher education is vitally important, and if current challenges continue the nation will face an even worse crises than it is seeing now. 

What are a few of those challenges? Student debt is currently $1.6 trillion, the cost of college over the past 30 years has increased exponentially, and 14 percent of community college students currently are homeless. To add to the insanity, the U.S. now ranks 13th in world degree attainment, and although 99 percent of new jobs were awarded to workers with some college, seven million jobs were left unfilled due to a lack of qualified applicants. 

“In addition, there is growing income inequality, inequity and polarization in our country,” Kanter said, adding that “we must increase access, equity and advancement.” 

The goal of College Promise is to do just. College Promise is committed to “funding college education for every eligible hardworking student advancing on the path to earn a college degree, certificate and/or credits to transfer to a four-year university; prepare students for the 21st Century workforce without the burden of unmanageable college debt; and make the first two years of community college universal, free, and accessible.

Mike Flores said AlamoPromise supports the mission by pairing college funding with a support system to ensure student success. 

“Students graduating from Bexar County independent school districts will partner with Café College and San Antonio Education Partnership for foundational support,” Flores said. 

Once enrolled in the Alamo Colleges District students will take part in a college transition program; undergo new student orientation; and have the opportunity to take part in a wealth of support including workplace-based learning, financial coaching, counseling, tutoring, academic advising, housing assistance, health, and more, all tuition free. The Colleges District will also partner with the San Antonio Food Bank and VIA Metropolitan Transportation for student services.

View photos of the event.

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