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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:
- Low income/Pell eligible
- First generation college student
- From a community that is underrepresented in college attendance
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.
Frequently asked questions about the California Promise Program
What is the difference between the California Promise Grant and the Promise Program?