By Campaign for College Opportunity
Communications Manager Jamal E. Mazyck
Long Beach City College District Superintendent-President Eloy Ortiz Oakley has been quite vocal about his position in support of the recently proposed America’s College Promise initiative from the Obama Administration. The proposal aims to make two years of community college free for responsible students and highlights the need for two-year institutions to strengthen their student success programs. On the heels of the launch of Heads Up America, an independent campaign to raise awareness on the significance of community colleges, I sat down with President Oakley, who helped launch The Long Beach Promise with former president of California State University Long Beach F. King Alexander, and Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser. The initiative is designed to improve college preparation, access and completion for locals. Among other guarantees, the Long Beach Promise offers a free year of tuition to Long Beach high school students at Long Beach City College. Upon community college completion, students are then offered guaranteed admission to CSU-Long Beach. Most recently, the City of Long Beach became involved by offering internships to students in this unique pipeline. I discussed how President Oakley’s academic and professional career path has shaped his view on the prospect of free community college for responsible students.