As the cost of higher education continues to rise, the odds of completing any degree or certification drop each year. To boost those odds, San Jacinto College has partnered with Pasadena ISD and Good Reason Houston as participants in the Harris County Promise program to advance degree and certificate completion and to continue to create a college-going culture among underrepresented high school students.
High school seniors from Pasadena ISD’s Dobie High School, Sam Rayburn High School, and South Houston High School now have an opportunity to have their tuition and course materials at San Jacinto College paid in full by becoming Harris County Promise Scholars. The Harris County Promise @ San Jac program is available to Texas resident high school seniors, regardless of GPA or family income. Eligible seniors who become Promise Scholars receive up to three years of guaranteed tuition and fees, assistance with course materials, and additional support to help them complete their degrees.
San Jacinto College welcomed its inaugural cohort of nearly 500 Promise students in fall 2020. These students are pursuing a variety of degree and certificate pathways, with 34 percent studying areas within life sciences. Business, math, and engineering are the next-highest degree pathways.
Dr. Allatia Harris, San Jacinto College vice chancellor, strategic initiatives, says the Promise program allows students to realize that college is attainable for everyone.
Promise is allowing me to be the first person in my family to attend college
“The Promise program has benefited me in such a good way by my parents not worrying about having to pay out of pocket for tuition,” Alvarez said.
“Being a first-generation college student, Promise is allowing me to be the first person in my family to attend college."
"I love that the Promise program was available during my first semester. If not, I honestly do not think I would be in college, so I’m completely grateful.”
“We wanted to reach deeper into these communities to give hope to all students to show them that college is an option,” said Harris. “Education after high school is critical to their success to earn and provide for their families. The Promise program tells these students that they are all welcome and all eligible.”
Jose DejesusGil, San Jacinto College director of recruiting, adds that creating a college-going culture takes time, but it all starts somewhere.
“San Jacinto College’s partnership with Good Reason Houston for the Harris County Promise program is transformative for our community and the students we serve,” he said. “We have an incredible opportunity to support the college going culture for underrepresented students and impact the education attainment levels in our area.”
Student Azhia Alvarez doubts attending college would have been possible without the Promise program.
“The Promise program has benefited me in such a good way by my parents not worrying about having to pay out of pocket for tuition,” Alvarez said. “Being a first-generation college student, Promise is allowing me to be the first person in my family to attend college. I love that the Promise program was available during my first semester. If not, I honestly do not think I would be in college, so I’m completely grateful.”
Promise is a last-dollar scholarship program, meaning the scholarship covers remaining tuition and fees after all other financial aid and scholarship funding has been applied. To be eligible, students must qualify for in-district tuition and complete all steps by their associated deadlines.
Student Jessica Saavedra adds that in addition to the financial benefit, the program is an investment in future success and opportunities.
“The Promise program has benefited me not only financially, but it has also made me stress-free since I’m not worrying about tuition and books,” said Saavedra. “It has also helped me push myself to become better. It’s not just a promise to the ‘county’ but a promise to yourself as well.”