PACE Promise

PACE Promise / Partners Advancing College Education


The PACE Promise, a joint program of San Marcos Unified School District (SMUSD) and California State University San Marcos (CSUSM), guarantees CSUSM admission to all district students continuously enrolled in the district from 9th through 12th grade who meet entrance requirements. This program began with the SMUSD graduating classes of 2009.

The Promise provides a step-by-step plan of preparation for college. Beginning in ninth grade, San Marcos Unified students must work to fulfill program expectations. Meeting these requirements also prepares students for admission to most California public and private universities and colleges. Students who meet all academic benchmarks, as determined by CSUSM, receive a $1,000 scholarship for up to four years. A total scholarship benefit of $4,000 per student!

Purpose of the Promise

  • To provide students the necessary academic tools for entering college without remediation.
  • To improve access, retention and college completion for underrepresented students.
  • To raise academic expectations and ensure that students not only qualify for college admission but thrive when they get there.
  • To expand comprehensive support services and to target every student in every school.
  • To offset tuition and mandatory fees that may be an obstacle to attending college.

PACE benchmarks

Description of PACE Promise Academic Benchmarks

Upon graduation from high school, students must have met the following PACE Promise academic benchmarks to receive guaranteed admission to CSUSM and the $4,000 scholarship:

    1. Attend SMUSD schools continuously from 9th – 12th Grade. Students must be continually enrolled in the San Marcos Unified School District since the 9th grade.
    2. Complete all A-G coursework with a “C” or better.  The A-G Subject Requirements are a comprehensive sequence of courses from a wide array of disciplines that prepare students for college-level coursework. Students must take courses to meet A-G requirements, which may include Career Technical Education (CTE) subject areas. English Learners or students enrolled in Special Education must be careful to ensure that course offerings also meet A-G requirements. Generally, this means that students must enroll in and complete mainstream courses. Parents should discuss their student’s placement with his/her school counselor or IEP team.
    3. Students must meet the CSU Eligibility Index requirements. In accordance with CSU admission policies, a student’s GPA will be evaluated at the time of the application to CSUSM.  In order to calculate the CSU Eligibility Index, students are required to take the SAT Reasoning Test or ACT exams. At that time, grades earned in sophomore and junior years, including summer school, will be considered along with SAT Reasoning Test or ACT scores. Grades will be re-evaluated upon high school graduation.
    4. Students must successfully demonstrate readiness for college-level work.  This requirement can be satisfied in one of the following ways:
      1. Acceptable score on 11th grade Early Assessment Program (EAP)*:
        • Students scoring “Conditional” on the EAP math test (these scores can be found on your student’s CAASPP report), must be enrolled in Algebra 2 or higher and earn a grade of “C” or better both semesters, or English class and earn a grade of “C” or better.
        • Students scoring “Conditional” on the EAP English test must be enrolled in a senior level English course and earn a grade of “C” or better.
      2. Scores of at least 500 in English, and 550 in math on the SAT, or
      3. Scores of 22 in English and 23 in math on the ACT
      4. Score of 3 or above in Advanced Placement English or Math, or
      5. Acceptable score on the Entry Level Math (ELM) test and the English Placement Test (EPT) taken on campus at CSUSM.
    5. Students must complete and submit the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) or the California DREAM Act. To receive the PACE Promise scholarship you DO NOT need to qualify for Federal or State aid via FAFSA, you are only required to apply. This is a requirement because we want ensure students are making an effort to gain access to any Federal or State student aid based on family income and household size.

PACE logo_stacked copyDownloadGuidelines

2017 PACE Promise Next Steps

  1. Intent to Enroll & Enrollment Deposit
    • MyCSUSM – Deadline May 1, 2017
    • $150 Deposit – Deadline May 1, 2017
  2. Financial aid & scholarships
    • Priority Deadline – March 2, 2017
    • Document Verification Deadline – May 2, 2017
  3. Placement Exams
    • ELM/ EPT – February 11, 2017
    • ELM/ EPT – March 18, 2017
    • ELM/ EPT – April 8, 2017
    • FINAL ELM/EPT – May 6, 2017
  4. PACE Scholar Agreement – Complete prior to June 23, 2017
  5. Orientation & Registration
    • Orientation programs begin in June 2017 & continue thru August 2017
  6. Final Transcripts
    • Submit official high school & college transcripts – Deadline July 15, 2017

“Next Steps” Presentations
Next Steps Presentation 2017

Next Steps Assembly 2017