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    The California Promise Program for College: Everything You Need to Know

    By Cait Williams

    Cait Williams is a Content Writer at Scholarships360. Cait recently graduated from Ohio University with a degree in Journalism and Strategic Communications. During her time at OU, was active in the outdoor recreation community.

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    Edited by Maria Geiger

    Maria Geiger is Director of Content at Scholarships360. She is a former online educational technology instructor and adjunct writing instructor. In addition to education reform, Maria’s interests include viewpoint diversity, blended/flipped learning, digital communication, and integrating media/web tools into the curriculum to better facilitate student engagement. Maria earned both a B.A. and an M.A. in English Literature from Monmouth University, an M. Ed. in Education from Monmouth University, and a Virtual Online Teaching Certificate (VOLT) from the University of Pennsylvania.

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    Posted: January 29th, 2024
    The California Promise Program for College: Everything You Need to Know

    Before we talk about what the California Promise Program is, let’s talk about what it is not. The California Promise Program is not a scholarship, or any type of funding. It also is important to know that the California Promise Program is different from the California College Grant. Okay, let’s get into what it is!

    What is the California Promise Program?

    The California Promise Program is a guarantee that students will graduate in a four year timeline with their bachelors or in a two year timeline if they already hold an associate degree for transfer from a California community college. To ensure this happens, students are given priority registration and thorough academic advisement throughout their whole degree. 

    Students must be able to demonstrate that they are interested in pursuing a four year degree and dedicated to finishing it in a four year timeline. While in school students must complete 30 credit hours per academic year, including the summer semester. 

    Because this program holds students to a strict timeline, it’s important that you know what you want to study. Switching your major part way through may disqualify you from the program or cause you to not graduate on time. Not being able to graduate on time may in turn disqualify you from the program. 

    Who is eligible for the California Promise Program?

    In order to be eligible for this program, students must be California residents who are first time students and meet ONE of the following criteria:

    Students must also participate in a qualifying major in order to be eligible. 

    What can you major in?

    So, if only certain majors are eligible, what are those majors? Well, unfortunately there is no one straightforward answer. Each campus has certain majors that students can apply to. Several campuses have lists of approved majors, but if you’re unable to find a list for the campus you wish to attend, you can reach out to the campus directly to ask. 

    What is the purpose of the California Promise Program?

    While this program doesn’t provide financial aid, it still can be an incredibly helpful tool in your college journey. By having an added layer of support that will help you sign up for classes and regularly check in on you, you’ll have more accountability to stick out your degree. Not to mention, keeping you on track with your classes will save you time and money. Completing a degree from start to finish is a lot of work, you should take advantage of any extra support you can get!

    Will participating in this program affect my eligibility for other financial aid?

    First, it’s important to remember that the California Promise Program is not considered financial aid, a grant, or a scholarship. This program is strictly to help you stay on track to graduate by giving you additional academic support throughout your college journey. Pell eligible students qualify for this program, so it should follow that this program should not affect your ability to use financial aid

    How to get more information about the California Promise Program 

    All the information in this article is important, but this section will tell you how to get information for the specific campus of California State University that you plan to attend. In total, CSU has twenty three campuses across California.

    In order to begin gathering further information, go to the California Promise Program website. On the bottom of the webpage, you will find two drop down lists, one that is for the two year pledge program and one for the four year pledge program. 

    Take some time to explore the campuses you are interested in. When you are ready, or if you have any questions, feel free to contact one of the campuses directly

    How to apply for the California Promise Program

    Last but not least, it’s time to fill out the application! You can apply to the California Promise Program directly on your Cal State University application. Cal State has some general priority deadlines that you can use to apply. To check if the campus you are interested in is accepting applications, you can do a quick search on their dates and deadlines page!

    How do you know which campus to attend?

    California State University has twenty three campuses, all of which function slightly differently in regard to the California Promise Program. On the California Promise Program website, you’ll find a list of campuses at the bottom of the page that reflect which campuses have two year or four year programs. You can use this as your place to start. From there, think about what campuses are nearest to you and analyze the majors that each campus offers. 

    Key Takeaways

    Key Takeaways

    • The California Promise Program is a program that adds a layer of support for students to help see them through from the start of their degree to the end
    • While in this program, students will frequently meet with academic advisors to keep them on track and receive priority registration to ensure that they get into every class they need
    • The California Promise Program offers two tracks: one called the two year pledge that helps students who already have an associate degree for transfer. The other track is  a four year pledge that helps students who are pursuing eligible bachelor degrees
    • In total, there are twenty three California State University Campuses, take a look at each campus in order to understand what you need to do in order to apply to individual  programs

    Frequently asked questions about the California Promise Program

    What is the difference between the California Promise Grant and the Promise Program?

    The California College Promise Grant is a grant that California students can receive when they attend eligible California Community Colleges. This grant gives you money based on the amount of credit hours you are taking. The California Promise Program, on the other hand, does not involve any sort of financial incentive. Rather, is a program that aims to help see students through from the start of their degree all the way to the end.

    Should you say yes to the California Promise Program?

    The California Promise Program is not something you should take lightly. The goal of the program is to help students complete their degree fully and in a timely fashion. If you’re unsure about what you want to study, or aren’t even certain that college is for you, those may be good concerns to talk through before applying to the program. That being said, if you are feeling good about college, this can be an amazing tool to help you stay on course and have that little bit of added support!

    Does the Promise Grant give you money?

    Just to be completely clear, the California Promise Grant does give students who attend eligible California community colleges money to pay for their tuition. However, the California Promise Program does not provide any type of funding to college students 

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