PASADENA, Texas — In partnership with Good Reason Houston, San Jacinto College has launched the Harris County Promise at San Jacinto College, a program for local high school seniors to earn a tuition-free higher education credential.
Harris County Promise is a partnership between local independent school districts, higher education institutions, and Good Reason Houston aimed at increasing college credential and degree attainment for the region. Data shows that 65% of today's jobs require more than a high school education, but only 21% of students in Harris County earn a postsecondary credential.
"Harris County Promise provides an incredible opportunity for high school students and their families," said Dr. Brenda Hellyer, San Jacinto College Chancellor. "The Promise and college staffs will partner to provide additional support for our students to enroll in college, stay on a path to completion, and ultimately earn their certificate or associate degree."
The Promise Program launched last month in seven high schools across three school districts with three community college partners. The participating high schools in the San Jac Promise Program are from Pasadena ISD. Seniors at Dobie, Sam Rayburn, and South Houston high schools are eligible for the tuition-free program, which requires that students be Texas residents and complete four steps to enroll, regardless of GPA or family income.
"Promise at San Jac is starting with students from Pasadena Independent School District because the district is already working with Good Reason Houston on another initiative," said Dr. Allatia Harris, San Jacinto College vice chancellor for strategic initiatves. "We selected these three schools because they represent some of the lowest and highest college-going rates. We will be studying the data to determine how we can efficiently grow the Promise Program to get more students on a path to meaningful careers."
After leveraging any financial aid awards and grant funds, as well as third-party scholarships, the students who meet the requirements will receive a scholarship from the San Jacinto College Foundation to cover the remainder of their tuition and books. Students will be required to take a minimum of 12 hours each fall and spring semester and must complete the credential within three years with a minimum 2.0 GPA. Staff will be available at the College to assist students throughout their time at San Jacinto College to ensure that they complete their credential or associate degree on time.
"We know in a fast-changing world our students need more skills to remain competitive in today's job market," said Dr. DeeAnn Powell, Pasadena ISD Superintendent. "This program helps our students receive the degree or technical certification needed to succeed in the workforce and beyond."
Modeled after similar successful programs across Texas and the country, Harris County Promise aims to solve the opportunity gap and increase college completion, particularly among low-income students. While Harris County Promise launched with seven high schools, the program plans to expand to more high schools and four-year colleges in the future.
Updated fall 2023: For more information about the Promise @ San Jac Scholarship (formerly connected to Harris County Promise), visit sanjac.edu/promise.
About San Jacinto College
Surrounded by monuments of history, industries, and maritime enterprises of today, and the space age of tomorrow, San Jacinto College has served the citizens of East Harris County, Texas, since 1961. The College is fiscally sound, holding bond ratings of AA and Aa2 by Standard & Poor's and Moody's. San Jacinto College is a 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence Top 10 institution, a 2017 Aspen Prize Rising Star Award recipient, and an Achieving the Dream Leader College. The College serves approximately 45,000 credit and non-credit students annually, and offers eight areas of study that put students on a path to transfer to four-year institutions or enter the workforce. San Jacinto College's impact on the region totals $1.3 billion in added income, which supports 13,044 jobs.