Harris County Promise launches in Aldine, Alief, and Pasadena ISDs, guarantees college tuition to Promise scholars
Feb 5, 2020
More than 4,000 high school seniors will have the opportunity to earn a tuition-free, postsecondary education through Harris County Promise, a new program that provides students with last-dollar scholarships to cover the cost of tuition and fees at participating community colleges.
This partnership between school districts, community colleges, and Good Reason Houston, aims to increase the number of Harris County students who graduate college and receive their degree. In this first year, Harris County Promise brings seven high schools in Aldine, Alief, and Pasadena Independent School Districts together with Houston Community College, Lone Star College and San Jacinto College to create a unique pathway to college graduation for Promise Scholars.
“We know in a fast-changing world, our students need to continue their educational learning to remain competitive in today’s job market,” said Dr. DeeAnn Powell, superintendent of Pasadena ISD. “This program helps our students receive the degree or technical certification needed to succeed in the workforce and beyond.”
Harris County Promise is available to all Texas resident high-school seniors from participating schools, regardless of high school GPA or income. The program provides a scholarship to cover any remaining tuition and fees not covered by other grants the student receives. Promise Scholars also receive assistance with books and a coach to help them navigate college life.
“To meet the growing demand for an educated workforce, we believe it is imperative to increase the number of students earning a degree or certification from our community colleges,” said Dr. Stephen C. Head, Lone Star College chancellor.
Today, 65% of jobs require more than a high school education, but in Harris County, only 21% of students earn a postsecondary credential.
“Harris County Promise provides an incredible opportunity for high school students and their families,” said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, chancellor of San Jacinto College. “The Promise and college staffs partner to provide additional support for our students to enroll in college, stay on a path, and earn their certificate or associate degree.”
Promise Scholars from Aldine ISD will attend Lone Star College; those from Alief ISD will attend Houston Community College; and Promise Scholars in Pasadena ISD will attend San Jacinto College.
“Harris County Promise removes barriers and improves access to a postsecondary education for our students,” said Dr. LaTonya Goffney, superintendent of Aldine ISD. “We are excited to be a part of the Promise program as it gives our students choices and opportunities beyond high school.”
“When I was a senior, there were plenty of jobs that didn’t require an education beyond high school, but that’s not true anymore,” said HD Chambers, superintendent of Alief ISD. “This is a transformational opportunity for our students.”
After leveraging grant funds, the scholarships are funded by the three participating community colleges through foundations, individual donor contributions and other resources Staff and support services for Harris County Promise are funded by the partner colleges and Good Reason Houston, an education nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of students learning in a great, public school.
“As technology continues to change higher education and workforce expectations,” said Dr. Cesar Maldonado, chancellor of the Houston Community College System, “it is critical that we build pathways to successful careers and meaningful work for all students. We are honored to work with our education partners to provide access to learning opportunities.”
“This is an unprecedented partnership that demonstrates a community-wide investment in our students and a dedication to ensuring all students can earn a postsecondary credential and enter the workforce ready to succeed,” said Paris Woods, managing director of Harris County Promise at Good Reason Houston. “Our hope is that Promise can close the equity gap in college completion and change the life trajectory of our students for years to come.”