We Could Not Have Done It Without You

Thank you Index CardsIn this season of thanks, we would like to share our deep gratitude to the foundations, corporations, organizations, and individuals who make our work possible. Their commitment and investment in the Campaign for College Opportunity allows us to ensure that the promise of a college education is available to this generation and future generations of California students.

Our supporters have many worthy causes to which they can invest, but year after year, they affirm their commitment to college access, completion, affordability and racial equity by investing in us.

Thanks to our funders’ investments, this year we were able to:

  • Share compelling student stories through our reports and presentations
  • Issue our first-ever California Higher Education Report Card, which measures California’s progress toward producing enough college graduates to meet our state’s economic needs by 2025
  • Publish The Transfer Maze: The High Cost to Students and the State, which highlights the critical role transfer plays in producing college graduates and providing economic opportunity, as well as the barriers students who wish to transfer still face in completing their education goals
  • Establish a coalition of leaders from higher education, philanthropy, and community organizations, and state and local policymakers to develop a proactive effort to protect California’s DACA and undocumented students
  • Advocate for funding and policies that accelerate students toward college completion by improving placement, transfer, and affordability.
  • Honor the exemplary leadership of the people and institutions crucial to ensuring student success, and highlighting these institutions as examples for best practices to inspire other colleges and universities

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All Students Should Have Access to Alternative Math Pathways

By Jacquelyn Lowe, recent graduate of Humboldt State University and a former Statway student at Pierce College in Los Angeles.
Republished from the Los Angeles Daily News

As someone whose college dreams were almost derailed by remedial math courses, I was thrilled to learn that the California State University system will no longer require intermediate algebra as a remedial pre-requisite for general education courses.

I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and throughout high school and college, I excelled in speech, debate, and all of my English classes. But math was my greatest obstacle.

When I enrolled at Pierce College, I didn’t pass the intermediate algebra placement test and learned I would have to take three semesters of remedial math before I could take a course that would transfer to CSU. After years of struggle, the idea of redoing high school math for a year and a half seemed like a deal breaker. I began telling myself I didn’t need a college education. After all, I grew up in a working-class family, already had a job in sales, and was raised by a single mother who made a living without a formal education.

That’s when my counselor told me about a program at Pierce called Statway. Developed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, Statway allowed me to bypass those three semesters and begin directly in college-level statistics, with remediation of necessary math skills built in… read more at the Los Angeles Daily News.

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Beyond Affirmative Action

Reposted: August 2, 2017 (Previously posted May 1, 2014 | Written by: Michele Siqueiros, President, The Campaign for College Opportunity)

Race is in the news. Whether it’s State Senator Hernandez’ proposal (SCA-5) to have California voters repeal the ban on Affirmative Action in California higher education, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the State of Michigan’s repeal of Affirmative Action in college admissions, or the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers who earned a lifetime ban and fine from the NBA for his disparaging remarks, the issue of race is front and center.
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Changing the Dialogue: How We Can Push Low-Income, Top Performing Students into Competitive Colleges

(Ariana and I posing with her University of California, Irvine acceptance letter-a proud and exciting moment for both of us!)

(Ariana and I posing with her University of California, Irvine acceptance letter–a proud and exciting moment for both of us!)

By: Alex Serna, Program Director, Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano

It was as if we were negotiating a nuclear treaty and for the last 4 years she worked assiduously to someday realize her dreams of becoming the first in her family to attend college. Then, that someday arrived. We sat and discussed her college list. The air was still as the crisp, cool fall ambient enveloped our conversation leading to a moment that became the turning point in her life. For many high-achieving, low-income students “undermatch” is a real phenomenon, one that Brookings defines as, “students attending less challenging colleges than their academic credentials would allow them to.” The New York Times credits this trend with widening economic inequality and low levels of mobility. These academically promising students, “wind up in community college or mediocre four-year schools”, with less financial, academic and social support leading to high rates of attrition (NPR). But, “undermatch” can either be realized or be overcome with dialogue. However, let me be clear; we are not talking about simple dialogue-but a relentless, aspirational dialogue focused on acknowledging the student’s strengths rather than their weaknesses.  Read More

A Cinderella Story for the Modern Girl

jessie and mom graduation

By: Jessie Ryan, Executive Vice President, Campaign for College Opportunity

In honor of Mother’s Day, Executive Vice President, Jessie Ryan, shares the instrumental role her mother played in the work that she does today.

Last August, after courageously waging a two-year battle with cancer, my Mother passed away.  She was my person.  My source of unconditional love, laughter, and encouragement.  A larger than life personality, that despite a life characterized by hardship was responsible for shaping me into the purpose-driven woman I am today. Read More