Despite the deep cuts to all levels of education, thousands of San Francisco eighth-grade students are still being promised a spot at San Francisco State University upon graduation.
Scroll down to see video of San Francisco Unified School District Superintendent Carlos Garcia talk more about the SF Promise program.
Because S.F. State gives admission priority to qualified students from six Bay Area counties, the university and the San Francisco Unified School District say they will keep their promise to nearly 4,000 students each year.
“We want to give them assurance that if you meet qualifications you will get in,” said Jo Volkert, associate vice president of enrollment at SF Promise. “There is a light at the end of the journey, even if there is negative press about the budget and the lack of spots.”
In 2009, the school district, S.F. State and The City partnered to create SF Promise, a university-run organization aimed at getting students excited about attending college by promising them guaranteed admission if they achieve certain academic targets. Other campuses in the Cal State system, including CSU East Bay, are not locally focused.
To qualify for enrollment under the program, students must complete certain high school courses and score a certain level on the SAT test.
S.F. State’s local enrollment area includes San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Alameda, Contra Costa and Marin counties. Even if budget cuts force the university to reduce the size of its local enrollment area, San Francisco will always be included, Volkert said.
SF Promise coordinator Justin Woodard said teams of S.F. State students visit six middle schools — A.P. Giannini, Everett, Horace Mann, James Lick, Martin Luther King Jr. and Willie Brown — to answer questions and serve as mentors to at-risk youth.
“Many of our teams went to school in San Francisco and some even attended the middle schools,” he said. “It’s to show them ‘Hey, we’re here and you can do it too.’”
Education, though, is facing budget crisis at all levels. Higher education is expected to slash its budget by $1.4 billion statewide. S.F. State will need to cut $32 million from its budget.
But Volkert pledged there will be room and classes for San Francisco students that are guaranteed a spot.
“We graduate about 7,000 students each year,” she said. “So there will be room in classes for more people.”
The first San Francisco graduating class to be guaranteed a spot at S.F. State is the class of 2015.
3,846 Students enrolled in the class of 2015
7,000 Students graduating each year from SF State
55,000 Students in the San Francisco Unified School District
$17,000 Tuition, fees, books, housing and personal expenses for S.F. State
$32 million Amount to be cut from S.F. State budget
Source: California Department of Education, San Francisco State University