College Promise Program offers free education

By Zasha Hayes

The College Promise Program has been helping students for years and COVID-19 hasn’t changed that. 

This program assists students on their path to graduation and is usually how students are able to stay on the right track during their college career. The pandemic has left many students unmotivated in their academic studies, so the College Promise Program helps those students stay motivated, and push them to be successful in their college career. 

This is apparent in the program’s motto, “Be Seen. Be Heard. Be Connected!”

The program features a team of success coaches and peer navigators who call attention to the success of mainly first years and the continuation into their second year. Each student is given a chance to apply to this program if they are eligible. 

Before COVID-19 the program would send staff to local high schools in order to recruit students into the program. 

Now, due to social distancing  and the lack of on-campus courses, the Promise Program offers webinars on Friday and Saturday evenings. 

An ongoing open zoom meeting is also used to help freshmen with any questions about college and their academics. 

The program has introduced online support workshops that were not available on campus previously. 

These workshops focus on the mental health of ELAC students and the topics vary from arts and crafts to showing pets over zoom to others who choose to join the workshops. 

These improve the mental fatigue and social-emotional struggles students might face and gives them the chance to connect to others without worrying about academics, or other responsibilities that might be weighing on a student’s mind. 

The responsibilities can vary from a student watching a sibling to a student who has been forced to look for jobs because of COVID-19. 

The workshops also give staff a chance to interact with students who may or may not need help. 

Because of the lack of on-campus learning, students and staff are no longer seeing each other in person. 

However the Promise Program’s workshop gives the staff a reason to speak with students or other staff members as if they would on campus. 

Rosalba Villalobos, the coordinator for the College Promise Program, relays how COVID-19 has affected the students negatively and wants to help the students who have been. 

Each workshop is made to improve the students, be it with academics, or their mental health during the pandemic. 

“I’m really about finding, not the positive in every situation, but keeping the hope alive,” Villalobos said. 

Students are encouraged to join because of the incentives the program offers. Some beneficial incentives are laptops for students who need them, be it because of the lack of one or poor internet connection. 

Students also receive a $50 stipend starting in Fall semester and continues for the semesters after, and an important benefit is the Los Angeles College Promise Works (LACP Works). 

This allows students to have access to internships and jobs that are remote, and are a big help for undocumented students. 

LACP Works gives students the chance to gain experience in the field they are looking to make a career in during college. 

Because COVID-19 has taken a toll on students’ mental health, students who reach out for help can get it. The College Promise Program connects students to the Student Health Office and follows protocols to keep students safe.  

The College Promise Program focuses on the success of students during their stay at ELAC. 

The program hires students to help assist other students, who have already gone through the steps of graduating college. 

The main requirements for students who choose to apply to the program are as follows. The student must be California residents.

 They also have to be eligible for FAFSA and must maintain a 2.0 GPA, this includes having all units needed per semester. This does not apply to those in DSPS. 

The College Promise Program will continue assisting students during the pandemic. It strives for students’ wellbeing and safety, and it will be a constant reminder that students can reach out for help. 

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