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Santa Monica College Unveils “Promise Program” to Encourage Full-Time Enrollment


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By Lookout Staff

August 7, 2018 -- It will become easier for financially strapped students from Los Angeles area high schools to enroll full-time at Santa Monica College this year.

The "Promise Program,," which starts at SMC in the fall, offers students who graduated this year free enrollment and $400 vouchers -- split between the fall and spring semesters -- to purchase textbooks.

“An overwhelming majority of SMC students, as in community colleges nationwide, attend college part-time, because often they are working to support themselves and/or their families financially,” said Dr. Jennifer Merlic, SMC Dean of Instruction.

"We encourage students to attend full-time if at all possible, and will offer them extra support along the way, because their success is our end goal.”

Research shows that students who attend full-time -- even if for only one semester -- are much more likely to “persist” and complete their studies than are part-time students, Merlic said.

A recent study released by the Center for Community College Student Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin analyzed transcript data of 17,085 students from 28 community colleges.

The results show that 34 percent of students who attended college full-time, even for a while, earned an associate degree or a certificate, compared to 23 percent who attended part-time.

To be eligible for the program, students must have graduated from high school in 2018 and enroll in the fall or spring as first-year students enrolled in at least 12 units per semester.

The who qualify will receive free enrollment and payment of their Associated Students fees (which include student discounts at select vendors and free Big Blue Bus passes), health and student ID fees.

SMC Promise students also will be enrolled in the First Year Experience (FYE) program that provides priority registration and dedicated counseling support.

The FYE program helps "ease the transition to college and ensure students are on the fastest track possible to their four-year school or career of choice."

Students can enroll this fall semester, which begins August 26, or in spring 2019.

For more information on SMC Promise, contact the college’s Welcome Center at 310-434-8101 or

Detailed information on eligibility and the application process is also available at


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