Event celebrates launch of Dallas County Promise, program pledges

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The chance to go to college for free is worth celebrating.

On Wednesday, May 2, students who committed to Dallas County Promise, which gives them the opportunity to earn full-tuition scholarships to any Dallas County Community College District (DCCCD) school, were also celebrated.

Officials from Dallas ISD, DCCCD and Dallas County Promise joined Dr. Jill Biden – former second lady – to highlight the need for access to college. Graduating seniors fro 23 Dallas ISD schools, regardless of GPA or family income, were eligible to sign up for Dallas County Promise. All they had to do was sign a “Promise Pledge” before Jan. 31 to qualify

The event, at W.H. Adamson High School, started with a pep rally. Graduating seniors at Adamson who made post-graduation decisions to attend colleges or enlist in the military were honored. Then, students using the Dallas County Promise to attend a DCCCD schools were recognized.

Biden, herself a community college professor, highlighted the importance of college.

“The chance to go to college is life-changing for students and their families,” she said. “With a dynamic scholarship, mentoring and support from partnering organizations, the Dallas County Promise is giving local students the chance to attend school, complete their education, expand their career choices and build lives that are more financially secure.”

That works to also strengthen the Dallas workforce, boosting the region’s economy, Biden said. “With today’s launch, I hope communities throughout the state and the nation will be inspired to create a program of their own.”

After her remarks, she visited with ninth-graders attending the Adamson Collegiate Academy. Dallas ISD early college high schools offer students the chance to earn their diplomas and an associates degree simultaneously. Biden called the district’s program another incredible opportunity for students.

In its first year, Dallas County Promise drew 9,300 students in Dallas ISD and other districts in the county – 80 percent of them classified as economically disadvantaged. In addition to paying for tuition, the program connects students with mentors and can lead to scholarships at partnering four-year institutions, currently SMU and UNT Dallas.

Next year, in addition to the 23 Dallas ISD high schools that are part of Dallas County Promise, Skyline and Woodrow Wilson high school students may also pledge to receive free DCCCD tuition.

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