SANTA MONICA—Santa Monica College has announced priority enrollment for Santa Monica and Malibu residents and local graduates. Priority enrollment begins January 3, 2017, when winter semester starts. This new system is the first phase of the Santa Monica College Promise program which launches Fall 2017. The program will help students reduce the expenses related to their first year at SMC.

According to the college’s website, to qualify for priority enrollment and enroll in credit classes for Winter 2017, students must have applied and completed pre-enrollment orientation, assessment tests and educational planning by November 22, 2016. Enrollment for Winter 2017, begins December 2016.

Current Santa Monica and Malibu residents are eligible. Students who are on an F-1 visa are not eligible. Graduating seniors and alumni of Santa Monica High School, Malibu High School, Olympic High School, St. Monica Catholic High School, Crossroads School, New Roads School, Pacifica Christian High School, and Lighthouse Academy, regardless of home address are eligible for the program as well.

“Santa Monica College has always been a tremendous asset to the Santa Monica and Malibu communities,” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery. “By giving local students and graduates priority enrollment, SMC will continue to build upon decades of commitment to provide our communities the highest quality in postsecondary education, reflecting the values of open access and educational equity of which we are all so proud.”

Dr. Sylvia Rousseau, co-interim superintendent of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) released the following statement in response to the news:

“This is a great opportunity for our current high school seniors to apply for priority enrollment at SMC starting in January 2017,” said Rousseau. “We are extremely fortunate to have such a wonderful partnership with SMC that will now include this new program, in addition to our thriving dual enrollment and concurrent enrollment programs. This is another step toward establishing Excellence through Equity.”

“I am thrilled that we will now offer priority enrollment to our district residents and local high school graduates,” said Dr. Louise Jaffe, Chair of the SMC Board of Trustees, founder of the Santa Monica Lifelong Learning Community Project, and founding member of the Community for Excellent Public Schools. “Kudos to President Kathryn E. Jeffery for advancing this new initiative to increase both access and success for local students at SMC!”

For returning and continuing students to be eligible they must be in good academic standing and have fewer than 90 credits at SMC. According to the school’s website, the State of California also requires certain populations like veterans and foster youth to be granted priority enrollment. Priority enrollment is not permitted by the state for students currently enrolled in high school because enrollment begins in late December 2016.