On Monday, May 7th Mayor Ron Loveridge and Completion Counts, a citywide partnership of education, civic and business leaders, kicked off the Riverside City College two-year completion guarantee, which looks to boost college access and success for local youth. Students at Norte Vista High School gathered in their gymnasium to learn about the new citywide initiative as high school graduation approaches.
The guarantee assures that eligible 2012 graduates of Alvord and Riverside Unified School Districts get priority class registration at RCC and a seat in classes to help them earn an associates degree, or transfer to a four-year university, within two years of enrolling.
The RCC two-year guarantee is part of an ambitious effort led by Completion Counts to raise the number of Riverside students who enroll and graduate from college by 2020. The partnership is driven by the City of Riverside, Riverside City College, Alvord Unified School District, Riverside Unified School District, Riverside County Office of Education, UC Riverside, and the Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce.
California’s budget cuts to education are driving community colleges to make changes to address the specific needs of their campus and community, while still making higher education accessible to everyone. Through Completion Counts, RCC is now focusing its efforts to give priority to eligible local incoming students, whom are overwhelmingly the first in their families to go to college.
“We know that for some of you right now college is just a dream, but we’ve been working very hard to make college a real possibility,” said Board President of Riverside Unified School District Gayle Cloud to a packed gymnasium. “This kind of collaboration between K-12 and higher education is unheard of in many communities – but we’re making it happen here in Riverside,” she said.
Dr. Cynthia Azari, President of Riverside City College presented the details of the guarantee. To participate, students must meet certain criteria including: score high in a college-entrance English and math test, complete the 2012-13 Free Application for Student Aid (FAFSA), attend full-time and maintain a 2.0 GPA at RCC. The guarantee does not apply at the Moreno Valley or Norco colleges.
RCC provides opportunities for technical education and transitions to four year universities and produces a highly educated workforce. The two-year completion guarantee shows the commitment to lifelong learning and a college-going culture in Riverside by ensuring that students achieve their academic goals through accessible and efficient means.