March 17, 2000
San Diego State University and the Sweetwater Union High School District announced a unique partnership that will help next fall's 7th graders become part of the SDSU freshman class of 2006.
The pilot program will ensure admissions to SDSU and tuition underwritten by the project's corporate partner, the Ellis Foundation. A contract being finalized by SDSU and Sweetwater will specify the academic goals students must reach and the tutoring opportunities to be offered by the institutions.
SDSU President Stephen L. Weber said the partnership was developed to create a mindset among the young students that a college education is an attainable goal for them. "The goal of this pilot program is to help these students work through the obstacles that may prevent them for seeking opportunities in higher education," he said. "We're holding out our hand to these students and saying if you work hard and meet the requirements, we promise to have a place for you at SDSU."
Sweetwater superintendent Dr. Ed Brand added the partnership should help raise expectations throughout the district for a college education.
"Right now, about a third of our graduates leave our district eligible for enrollment at a CSU campus," he said. "We're going to work to see that increase. The goal of this pilot program is get students on track for college at an early age and give them the support they need to succeed."
Michael Ellis, an alumnus of Sweetwater District schools and president of the San Diego-based Metabolife International as well as head of the Ellis Foundation, views his financial commitment as more investment than philanthropy
"Ensuring education is available for these students makes them better citizens, more productive workers and better people," he said. "That's good for all of us who live and work in San Diego."
San Diego State University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego region. Since it was founded in 1897, SDSU has grown to offer bachelor's degrees in 76 areas, master's degrees in 58 areas and doctorates in 11. The more than 30,000 students participate in an academic curriculum distinguished by direct contact with professors and an increasing international emphasis that prepares them for a global future.