District Awarded $3 Million Grant to Support Student Success Initiative

On May 14, the California Community Colleges Board of Governors awarded the San Mateo County Community College District (SMCCCD) a $3 million grant to implement a student success model that will accelerate student completion of associate degrees.  Utilizing the City University of New York (CUNY) Accelerate Study in Associate Programs (ASAP) model, the funds will be used to integrate the District’s Promise Scholars Program with the implementation of Guided Pathways, and will include expanded partnerships with local high school districts, a Promise Scholarship for free college, and a professional development infrastructure that supports a culture committed to equity and innovation.

“The receipt of this grant from the Board of Governors will be a game-changer for so many of our students,” said Ron Galatolo, SMCCCD Chancellor.  “Creating clearly defined pathways from college entry to completion and providing comprehensive advising and wrap-around support services for students will allow them to be successful inside and outside the classroom.”

As the only California community college that is recognized as a CUNY ASAP replication site, Skyline College will serve as the lead for the scaling of the Promise Scholars Program, first within the District, and subsequently throughout the state. A group of colleges will be identified to join Cañada College and the College of San Mateo to become part of a cohort of that will receive structured technical assistance for the implementation of the Promise Scholars Program model.  Since implementing the ASAP model in 2016, Skyline College has seen that Promise Scholars Program students have a nearly 20 percent higher retention rate than those students not in the program.  The District is confident that these results will lead to higher student completion rates.

“CUNY has had great success with this model,” said Galatolo.  “We are seeing similar initial trends at Skyline College and we are optimistic about how this program – once implemented districtwide – will help close the opportunity gap and enhance the educational attainment rate of our students.”

There were 65 districts across the state competing for $20 million in state Chancellor’s Innovation Awards in Higher Education, with only 11 programs receiving funding.  The San Mateo County Community College District received the largest funding allocation for this grant.


About the Chancellor’s Higher Education Innovation Awards 

The 2017-18 Budget Act included $20 million for the Chancellor’s Higher Education Innovation Awards to be awarded by the board of governors. The awards recognize innovations that improve student success, and are sustainable and capable of being scaled across the state, with a particular focus on all of the following:

  • Programs and frameworks that support students from groups that are underrepresented in higher education, such as low-income students, students from underrepresented schools and neighborhoods, first-generation students, students who are current or former foster youth, and students with disabilities.
  • Targeted services and programs for students who are current or former members of the Armed Forces of the United States.
  • Programs and frameworks that support adults who have been displaced from the workforce, and adults who are underemployed, so as to obtain the necessary training for gainful employment.
  • Programs that support incarcerated adults in prisons and jails, including formerly incarcerated adults.
  • Programs that incorporate technology to improve instruction and support services with a plan to ensure student success in these types of programs. 

A review committee, comprised of the chancellor’s executive staff and board members Connie Conway and Bill Rawlings, reviewed the readers’ findings and recommended the awardees and award amounts to the chancellor and board of governors. Those applicants receiving the highest scores are recommended for an Innovation Award. 

Additional information about the awards can be found on the Chancellor’s Higher Education Innovation Awards website.