SBVC Welcomes Newest Cohort of Valley-Bound Commitment Students

Their hard work paid off — when they start classes at San Bernardino Valley College this fall, 11 highly-motivated San Gorgonio High School graduates will have their first year of tuition covered.  
These new Wolverines — Jovana Arreola, Jesus Dorantes, Hope Hart, Nicholas Jenkins, Rosa Martinez, Karla Merino-Hernandez, Humberto Millan Carmago, Karoul Neana, Phu Nguyen, Omar Raygoza-Valdez, and Jose Salazar — are participating in the Valley-Bound Commitment program, which removes economic barriers for first-year students. Valley-Bound offers not only $5,000 for tuition and living expenses, but also priority registration, a dedicated team of counselors and classified staff that works with students throughout the year, field trips to colleges and universities, peer mentoring, books, parking permits, and school supplies.  
"Overall, they are a part of a learning community that is here to assist them with navigating their first year in college to increase their chances of successfully reaching their educational goals of receiving an AA/AS, certificate, or to transfer out to a four-year university," Sharaf Williams, director of First Year Experience, said.  
Valley-Bound, operated by the San Bernardino Valley College Foundation and largely funded by the San Manuel Band of Mission Indians, is now in its tenth year. In its first year, Valley-Bound offered assistance to 31 students, and by the 2016-17 school year, the program had grown to 230 students. The feedback Williams has received from students is all positive.  
"They feel lucky to have this support throughout the year," Williams said. "They are also very grateful for the counseling team that supports them and pushes them to reach their goals. They feel like they have a place to come to ask questions about anything and know that they will get the guidance that they need to be successful."  
Valley-Bound is open to students from 17 high schools in the San Bernardino area. Participants have higher grades than their peers and continue their education beyond their first year at a higher rate than students not in the program, and many go on to transfer to four-year universities.  
"I know that it is a great program because it takes much of the financial burden off of the students, so that they are able to focus more on their studies," Williams said. "Also, as I see so many of the students continue on and graduate from here, I know that we are providing them with the tools that they need to be successful, not only on their educational journey, but on their life journey."