Supporting College Student Access and Success: Making Sure Hard Work Pays Off

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By: Audrey Dow, Senior Vice President, The Campaign for College Opportunity

This blog is an excerpt from the panel on “Supporting College Student Access and Success” from the American Educational Research Association conference on January 17, 2017. Our Senior Vice President, Audrey Dow, gave remarks on policy opportunities that could help address college student access and success. Please click the video above to watch the entire remarks.

 

Good evening.

Thank you A.E.R.A. for having me tonight. It’s wonderful to be here with Dr. Long, Juana, James, and Adolfo.

I’m glad we’re having this conversation on college access and success here in California because in so many ways, California is what the rest of our country will look like in the future.

My remarks today will focus on the policy opportunities we have before us that can help address so many of the challenges laid out in Dr. Long’s lecture.

California’s Master Plan for Higher Education paved the way for our UC, CSU and community college systems which created a workforce that catapulted the state into becoming a world leader and ensured the type of innovation that we’re famous for (Silicon Valley, Silicon Beach, Apple, Disney) keeps the state as one of the largest economies in the world.

It’s the reason I’m sitting here today. My father, immigrated to this country at the age of 10 from Mexico. He’s the grandson and son of panaderos (bakers) but when he turned 18 he didn’t go into the family business, it wasn’t why my grandfather left his country. He came here for better opportunity for his son and somehow knew that education was likely the key. So, in the early 1970’s my dad enrolled in LA Trade Tech College, just down the street from here, which led to him earning a certificate in electrical engineering, an apprenticeship at American Bridge Steel Company, and a career that allowed him to own a home, have quality healthcare, save for retirement, put his two girls through college and have a little fun.

The Master plan was groundbreaking policy for its time, it fit the needs of that moment and served millions of students, including my father, and the state but that moment was over fifty years ago.

Our once model higher education system has fallen into mediocrity in college preparation, completion and affordability. In fact, California is projected to be 2.3 million college educated workers short of economic demand in just eight years.  California’s population has more than doubled in size and is more racially diverse and geographically spread out. Today, Latinos represent 40% of California’s population but only 11% of adult Latinos have Bachelor’s degrees. Half of all children are Latino in the state and most will be first-generation college goers– these are demographics that the original master plan never contemplated. Read More

Working Towards a Brighter Future

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By: The Campaign for College Opportunity

This month we celebrated Black History Month; a month where as a nation we commemorate the history, struggles, accomplishments and contributions of African Americans. This time is especially important to California as it is home to the nation’s fifth largest Black population in the country.

Here at the Campaign, Black History Month is a time to reflect on how well our public colleges and universities are supporting Black students in reaching their college goals because we know that a college degree not only propels students’ lives, it greatly benefits our state.

Black students today are more likely to graduate from high school and college than they were a decade ago, but far too many still face barriers accessing college and far too few graduate with a college credential. Given the size and importance of the Black community in California, working to improve college going and success is vital. Fortunately, there are a number of campus programs in our public colleges and universities that are working to improve the experience and success of Black students and we are pleased to share three examples with you. Read More

FAFSA Story Series: Annaly Medrano

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By: The Campaign for College Opportunity

Annaly Medrano is a 25 year-old Latina college student at San Bernardino Valley College, finishing her requirements to transfer to California State University, Sacramento. Her journey into higher education has been met with multiple obstacles, yet her passion for public policy and making a difference in the lives of future students has kept her motivated to complete her studies.

Annaly wasn’t able to complete her senior year of high school, but her mother encouraged her to attend community college to earn her GED.  Entering community college was a turning point for Annaly and she began to thrive academically. During that time frame, Annaly also discovered a learning disability, which qualifies her to receive special accommodations while taking exams–something that had gone undetected through primary school, but could have made a difference in her life. Read More

What We Learned about Higher Education Priorities in a Trump Administration from the Betsy DeVos Hearing

By: Jake Brymner, Regional Affairs Manager, Campaign for College Opportunity

On Tuesday, the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) began its confirmation hearing for Betsy DeVos, the philanthropist and charter school activist nominated by President-elect Trump to serve as Secretary of Education. As the transition of power takes place this week in Washington, many questions remain about the Trump administration’s approach to higher education. Given the lack of specific campaign proposals and DeVos’s focus on issues in K-12 schools, Tuesday’s hearing presented an opportunity to gain insight into how President-elect Trump and his cabinet will address post-secondary education. Below are top takeaways from the hearing: Read More

A Gift for all of California’s Students

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By: Aileen Zhong, Policy & Programs Associate

Every year we are faced with a difficult task, to find the perfect gift for our students during the holiday season. And while you might wonder whether the student in your life really needs that extra pair of shoes or the latest iPhone you won’t have to wonder whether a gift from our list is necessary. This season the Campaign for College Opportunity wants to urge you to consider giving your student something that they, their peers and all California students could benefit from for years to come. Give your support to  improving access and completion to our state’s higher education system by getting involved with the Campaign in 2017 or by making a donation today!

In just a few short years, our state will experience a huge shortage of educated workers needed to meet California’s workforce demands. Access to our public colleges and universities has been constrained, selectivity has increased, and all the while the value of a college degree is more important than ever. To address these issues, we propose six ways you can get involved and give California students the gift of equal opportunity! Our list may not fit in a box, but it’s what our students need and deserve – so let’s get to work!  Read More