Palomar Promise Offers Free Community College Access to Local High School Graduates

(SAN MARCOS, CA – February 22, 2017) More than 300 people were on hand at Palomar College on Wednesday, Feb. 22 to celebrate the launch of the Palomar Promise campaign, benefiting local high school students who plan to attend Palomar College.  At the event, held in the college’s Howard Brubeck Theatre, Palomar Superintendent/President Dr. Joi Lin Blake and other college administrators were joined by elected officials, superintendents, principals, and students from local high schools plus other invited guests. Keynote speaker was Dr. Martha Kanter, Executive Director of the national College Promise Campaign.

The Palomar Promise is designed to increase the college-going rate of local high school graduates by providing FREE community college access to all eligible North San Diego County 2017 high school graduates starting in Fall 2017. Through a package of FREE financial resources and academic support services, Palomar College promises one year of FREE tuition and textbooks (up to $500 per semester) for the 2017-2018 year for eligible students from 21 comprehensive public high schools* in North San Diego County. These high schools will graduate more than 7,400 students who will potentially be eligible to attend Palomar College through the Promise Program in Fall 2017.  Palomar College records show the average size of the incoming freshman class from these 21 high schools amounts to more than 1,500 students.

In addition, the college promises to assist students to enroll in college, to stay on track to complete their career or academic goals and/or to transfer to a four-year college or university of their choice. Applications are now being accepted for the program. Information is available at .

Two organizations have committed a combined $1.5 million to the Palomar Promise. At the launch event, Mary Perry, Vice President, Marketing, West, of Follett Education Group announced the Follett Corporation’s pledge of $1 million, and David Engblom, Chair of the Palomar College Foundation Board announced the Foundation’s pledge of $500,000. Four student speakers who plan to attend Palomar College next year on the Palomar Promise shared what FREE community college means to them and to their families. More than 150 high school students who will join the program were in the audience.

Adrian Gonzales, Vice President of Student Services at Palomar was Master of Ceremonies at the launch event. Nancy Ann Hensch, Governing Board President welcomed guests. Dr. Blake spoke about what the Palomar Promise means to the college and the community. She also introduced Dr. Kanter, who served during President Obama’s administration as the U.S.  Under Secretary of Education and is a distinguished visiting professor of higher education at NYU Steinhardt.

The student speakers were:

Marlon Gabriel, a San Marcos High School senior who plans to attend Palomar College, then transfer to UCSD to pursue a degree in nursing, and eventually apply to medical school to become a general surgeon.

Brandy Graham, a Mission Hills High School senior who plans to transfer to SDSU and major in business marketing after attending two years at Palomar. Her long-range plans include becoming an entrepreneur and opening up her own clothing store.

Rynon Reyes, a Mission Hills High School senior, who plans to pursue a degree in nursing and hopes to become an orthopedic nurse.

Rebecca Sanchez, an Orange Glen High School senior who would like to do her general education at Palomar then transfer to CSU East Bay and major in biology with the hope of becoming a pediatrician.

PLEASE NOTE: B-roll of this event is available upon request. See contact information below


Bonsall High School

Borrego Springs High School

Escondido High School

Orange Glen High School

San Pasqual High School

Fallbrook High School

Julian High School

Del Norte High School

Mt. Carmel High School

Poway High School

Rancho Bernardo High School

Westview High School

Ramona High School

Mission Hills High School

San Marcos High School

Valley Center High School

Mission Vista High School

Rancho Buena Vista High School

Vista High School

Warner Springs High School

Del Lago Academy

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Laura Gropen, Director, Public Affairs,, 760-744-1150, x 2152, 858-722-1869

Melinda Finn, Public Affairs,, 760-744-1150 x2365