In 2016, Elizabeth Salazar had recently graduated from Santa Barbara High School. While she was interested in attending college, her financial situation was a barrier to that dream. Fortunately, that same year, the SBCC Foundation launched the SBCC Promise, and she was able to attend Santa Barbara City College full time at no cost.
Salazar graduated two years later, in 2018, with an associate of arts degree in psychology and transferred to California State University Channel Islands, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. She then went on to pursue a master’s degree in school counseling at California Lutheran University.
“The SBCC Promise was incredibly helpful to me financially, especially since I was under the care of only one parent,” she said. “I am thankful to have attended such an amazing college with wonderful professors. Five years ago, I would not have imagined being where I am today. Thanks to the support from my family, friends, and the SBCC promise, I have achieved many of my goals.”
In addition to financial assistance, Salazar also found many helpful resources during her time at SBCC.“Some of my favorite things about SBCC are the writing center, the math center, and the computer lab,” she said. “I utilized these centers on a regular basis to work on homework assignments. I love the library, particularly the downstairs cubicles to study.”
SBCC also offers a Transfer Achievement Program (TAP) designed to help students who are planning to transfer from SBCC to a four-year college or university, often to work toward a bachelor’s degree. Salazar credits this and many other resources with helping her successfully navigate through college, and she encourages other students to take advantage of them.
“Being vulnerable is brave and admirable, so ask for help,” she said. “Don’t be shy. Take advantage of all the resources available to you. I love the EOPS (Extended Opportunity Programs and Services) and TAP program, including their tutors and counselors who made sure I was on track to transfer to a four-year university. In addition, iPath (Pathways to Transfer Program) and Disability Services and Programs for Students (DSPS) helped me become a successful first-generation college student.”
Salazar’s work experience lends itself well to her degree, as she previously worked in local schools, administering English Language Proficiency Assessments for California to students.
“I was an English learner myself, and I enjoy working with this student population, as they have a special place in my heart,” she said. Now working as a college and career technician while pursuing her master’s degree, Salazar uses her academic knowledge working alongside a counselor.