Blog Archives - The Campaign for College Opportunity

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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

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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

Why the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (FSEOG) Matters

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By: Linda Vasquez, Regional Affairs Director

The promise of higher education accessibility is deeply tied to the availability of financial aid programs for those with the highest need. That’s why federal aid that supports American students across the nation is so important. Unfortunately, in President Trump’s proposed budget, a critical program, the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (FSEOG), is at risk of being eliminated.

There is endless amount of research that I could cite for you that demonstrate how a grant such as the FSEOG can serve as a critical tool to increasing college access, especially among underrepresented and underserved students, but the most powerful proof will come straight from a student who benefited from it. Read More

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.

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Working Towards a Brighter Future

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By: Olga Jimenez, Communications Associte, 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

How Will We Keep College Affordable? A Conversation We Must Continue in 2017

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

As our nation’s capital prepares for a presidential transition in power, The Campaign for College Opportunity travelled to Washington, D.C. with a different agenda.  Twenty-two student ambassadors joined the Campaign alongside some of our community and business partners to call for financial aid policy to accommodate the growing number of students qualified to pursue higher education. Did you know that a record number of high school students are graduating and are college-ready and bound, yet too many of these students are facing the cost of college as a barrier to their attendance? And while we often hear of how missing the chance to earn a college degree has major lifelong implications for individuals, we don’t always realize how it’s also a major loss to our nation’s economy. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce predicts that the U.S. needs to produce 11 million more post-secondary credentials by 2025 just to meet projected workforce demands making the imperatives and benefits of student-centered financial aid policy clearer than ever. Read More