Bright Spots 2020: Hartnell College’s Salinas Valley Promise

The Salinas Valley Promise is a leadership and degree completion program launched by Hartnell College in the 2019-20 academic year. It is now serving 621 first-time, full-time students, who are receiving two years of free in-state tuition regardless of family income, as well as a free laptop or textbook support, leadership and life-skills training, and one-on-one guidance from a volunteer industry mentor. The Promise program leverages state funding combined with private gifts and the investment from the County of Monterey and the cities of Gonzales, Soledad, Greenfield and King City. It is modeled after two of Hartnell’s existing student success programs, called WELI (Women’s Education and Leadership Institute) and MILE (Men’s Institute for Leadership and Education), which serve students who have already started college. Results from this first-year cohort are very promising: overall, Promise program students completed more academic units and had a 12 percent higher course success rate than their first-time-in-college peers who did not participate.