Keeping the Promise Alive for Ventura College Students
More than 1,100 students attending college at no cost through grant program

Ventura, CA - More than 1,100 Ventura County high school graduates will attend their first year of Ventura College free of charge, thanks to the Ventura College Promise, a revolutionary grant program launched in 2006 by the Ventura College Foundation. The program distributed $195,000 in grants to students for the fall 2014 semester. VCF anticipates an additional $150,000 will be granted to students for spring 2015, raising the total to approximately $345,000 for the 2014/2015 academic year.

Designed to eliminate economic barriers to higher education for graduating Ventura County high school seniors, and students who receive their GED, the “Promise” encourages students to further their education and reach their academic goals. Promise students stay in school after the first year at double the rate of non-Promise students, according to Foundation staff.

Promise students have a higher retention rate because 82 percent attend Ventura College full-time—versus 46 percent of the general student population—and use the services available to them on campus, including the Lending Library and scholarships for year two. Promise students also can participate in the Promise Peer Mentoring program, where a peer mentor is available to answer questions and provide guidance.

“Though the Promise is open to all students, regardless of need, many of our grant recipients wouldn’t have the financial means to attend college if not for the program,” said Norbert Tan, executive director of Ventura College Foundation. “Seeing students’ relief when they realize that they can attend college free, validates the importance of the program and underscores the impact it makes on their lives.”

For the fall 2014 semester, 46 percent of the Promise participants are first-generation college students. Students come from throughout the county, with the highest numbers coming from Oxnard, Santa Paula and Ventura. The most popular areas of study for Promise students are nursing, business, psychology and engineering.

"By partnering with our Foundation and supportive local companies, Ventura College can provide the means to higher education for graduating high school seniors. By improving the college-going rate in our community, we help enhance the quality of our local workforce,” said Ventura College President Greg Gillespie, PhD.

Established in 1983, the Ventura College Foundation provides financial support to the students and the programs of Ventura College to facilitate student success and grow the impact and legacy of Ventura College as a vital community asset. The Foundation also hosts the Ventura College Foundation Marketplace, an outdoor shopping experience held every weekend on the Ventura College campus east parking lot. For more information, contact Norbert Tan at (805) 289-6160 or Or visit