WHITTIER – Students in Rio Hondo College’s El Monte Pledge program are achieving success at substantially higher rates than other U.S community college students, according to a new report.

These students have completed certificates, degrees and achieved transfer readiness with the help of a slate of services that are being expanded to the entire student body because of their proved effectiveness, according to a Rio Hondo College report released in February.

“These statistics, though they are for a small cluster of students so far, show the depth of success we can achieve when we work closely with community partners to prepare and guide students through the challenges of higher education,” Superintendent/President Teresa Dreyfuss said.

The El Monte Pledge grew out of a partnership among Rio Hondo College, El Monte Union High School District and UC Irvine to create a pathway to higher education success that starts even before students begin elementary school. Students who participate in the program sign the El Monte Pledge to receive the additional support.

In 2012, the El Monte Promise Foundation was formed to take over several programs started by Rio Hondo College while the College focused on providing El Monte Pledge students with specific support services once they enroll at Rio Hondo.

Those services include a full-time dedicated El Monte Pledge counselor, priority for El Monte Pledge students who wish to attend the annual Summer Scholars Transfer Institute at UC Irvine and priority registration for Rio Hondo College classes. The college also helps ease transfer to UC Irvine and California State University, Los Angeles.

Meanwhile, the foundation helps students save for college by matching savings funds and holding financial literacy programs in elementary schools, college planning nights for high school students, community dialogues on college attendance, and arranging internship opportunities.

The new numbers demonstrate the program’s impact.

Cohorts of El Monte Pledge students entering Rio Hondo College in 2011 and 2012 received degree and certificate awards at a rate of 50 percent higher than similar community college cohorts across the nation; in addition, the cohorts transferred to four-year institutions at a rate of 21 to 23 percent higher than their peers, according to the Rio Hondo College report.

Now, Rio Hondo College is applying the lessons of its El Monte Pledge support model to a comprehensive program to strengthen student support for other college students.

“Rio Hondo College is proud of the role we have played in helping to establish the community partnership that has become the El Monte Promise Foundation,” Board of Trustees President Norma Edith García said. “Programs like these are part of our mission of bringing the promise and potential of higher education to our entire community.”