University of La Verne partners with a dozen school districts to guarantee admission

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

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A private university in eastern Los Angeles County plans to announce this week that it will guarantee admission to graduates of a dozen Southern California school districts and waive some tuition and fees if students meet entry requirements and decide to attend. 

The agreement between the University of La Verne and the districts – which include those in Pomona, Alhambra, Covina, Duarte and other areas – is meant to ease the pathway between high school and higher education.

 “The more accessible and affordable we can make our education at the University of La Verne, the better off the region will be as a whole,” said Todd Eckel, the dean of admissions at the University of La Verne.

Most of the campus' 8,000 students enroll from Southern California, Eckel said, while more than half of the student body is Latino.

The program is similar to “promise” partnerships in Los Angeles and Long Beach begun in recent years. But those partnerships were between public school districts and public colleges, while the University of La Verne is a 125 year-old private university.

The program mostly puts existing resources, such as the school's financial aid program, to work in an effort to make it easier for high school students to apply to college and earn a degree once they’ve been admitted.

“Going to college is really quite complicated,” said Sacramento State University researcher Su Jin Jez. “You have to take the right courses and figure out what the right courses are. It can be complicated because it can be different for the UCs and CSUs versus the privates.”

Last September the Los Angeles Unified School District announced a partnership with the LA Community College District. That promise program waives the first year of tuition for students in the graduating class of 2017 who sign up and meet requirements.

The Long Beach Promise program, started in 2008, is a similar partnership between the school district, community college, and the California State University campus.

The University of La Verne program will start later this year; the first students who can qualify are current high school seniors.

Update: A previous version of this story misstated the date that the program will begin. KPCC apologizes for the error.