New Website Launches to Help Communities Deliver on the Promise of College

California College Promise Project

How are education, government, non-profit, business, and philanthropy leaders joining together to help more students access and succeed in college? The answer to this question drives the work behind the California College Promise Project (CCPP), a new research, evaluation, and technical assistance center at WestEd.

The CCPP was launched to support the growing movement in California to improve college affordability, access, and completion for all students, known as College Promise, in addition to serving as a resource for education leaders, practitioners, policymakers, researchers, and funders interested in college access and success.

“The concept of College Promise as a framework for comprehensive support across a student’s entire educational career is being embraced by more and more communities throughout California, and we at CCPP are here to support them to ensure that all California students have the opportunity to reach their higher education goals,” says Dr. Mary Rauner, Co-Director of the CCPP and Senior Research Associate at WestEd.

What work has been conducted, and how can I access it?

As of April 2018, the CCPP officially launched its new website, which houses resources and information for individuals and organizations interested in developing a College Promise program. Website visitors can find:

  • Current CCPP projects and activities
  • Details on upcoming CCPP events
  • Descriptions of active College Promise programs throughout California
  • Archived event materials, reports, and other resources.

Why is the CCPP needed?

College Promise programs are on the rise across the nation. Frequently, these programs originate as community-based commitments between K–12 and postsecondary institution leaders and local civic and non-profit representatives, who together design strategies to provide financial, academic, and other support services to the students they serve in their communities.

The particularly high concentration of programs in California — and the rapid rate at which new programs are emerging — makes the state an exciting laboratory for College Promise innovation. In fact, the number of College Promise programs nearly doubled from 23 in 2016 to 43 less than a year later — the largest number of programs in a single state.

“College Promise programs have the potential to make meaningful improvements in college preparation, access, affordability, and attainment for students from underserved groups. With this website and other related efforts, the CCPP is helping to advance communication, collaboration and shared learning across College Promise programs in California, with the goal of helping programs realize this potential,” says Laura W. Perna, Executive Director of PennAHEAD and Co‑Director, with Dr. Rauner, of the CCPP.

How is WestEd involved?

WestEd has been active in the College Promise movement for several years, building up a rich body of work around the subject. Since 2015, WestEd has partnered with the University of Pennsylvania Alliance for Higher Education and Democracy (PennAHEAD) and the College Promise Campaign (CPC) to study the College Promise landscape and support the institutions and communities developing College Promise programs. In California, these organizations will continue to share their collective knowledge, strategies, and research findings through the new California College Promise Project name and user-friendly website.

“We look forward to increasing collaboration among the nation’s research scholars and policy experts to build and expand well-designed, sustainable local and state Promise programs that increase student opportunity and success. The CCPP website and resources will help us learn from each other, share data, and build the evidence base for what works best for Promise communities and states,” says Martha Kanter, Executive Director of the College Promise Campaign.

For more information on the California College Promise Project and its work, visit the project website or contact Mary Rauner at 415.615.3495 or

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