Staff Report

As students in the Hancock College Promise program gear up for their second tuition- and fee-free semester, college officials are assessing the success of the program’s inaugural fall 2018 semester.

More than 1,400 local students received The Hancock Promise, which is more recent graduates from local high schools than ever before at the college. The highest percentage increase was from Santa Ynez Valley Union High School, whose 56 students entering Hancock last fall marked a 124 percent increase.

In the Promise’s first semester, the college saw an increase of nearly 500 first-time high school graduates, and college representatives are thrilled.

“The success of the Promise has exceeded our expectations with the number of local students who are participating,” said AHC Associate Superintendent/Vice President of Student Services Nohemy Ornelas. … “For many, The Promise has opened up educational opportunities that may have not been an option.”

The Hancock Promise removes financial barriers and creates pathways to increase college readiness, access, affordability and success for all students and their families.

The enrollment of first-time high school graduates at Hancock increased at nearly all local high schools last fall: 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, signing up for classes early with priority registration, setting an academic plan for success, and receiving personalized counseling, tutoring, and other support services.

Students planning to attend Hancock in the fall of 2019 can apply now and register for courses beginning May 8. The semester starts Aug. 19.

The Hancock Promise is made possible through donations. In December 2017, the 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 partners.