New Campaign Urges California’s Next Governor to Champion Bold Vision for Higher Education in the State

“Our California” campaign calls for a statewide attainment goal, closing racial equity gaps, and a plan for producing the 1.65 million additional degrees the state needs by 2030

Los Angeles, CA – A broad-based coalition led by The Campaign for College Opportunity launched the “Our California” campaign elevating the critical role that California’s higher education system will play in shaping the state’s economic future and calling on the next governor to develop a plan for improving college access and success. Over the next 12 years, California will need 60 percent of adults to have some college credential in order to meet growing workforce demands for college educated workers, a feat that can only be accomplished if California’s next governor commits to a statewide college attainment goal and creates the necessary plan and investments to meet that goal.

The Campaign for College Opportunity, and its coalition partners, underscore the need to adopt a 60 percent college attainment goal and to close persistent racial equity gaps in college opportunity by 2030.

“California’s candidates for governor are rightfully concerned about the economic future of the state. The best insurance we have for a brighter tomorrow is a college education for more Californians. Together with our coalition we have given the next governor an attainment and racial equity goal and a blueprint to get us there,” said Michele Siqueiros, President of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “We urge him to adopt these goals and take the necessary steps to ensure that we reach them. We won’t rest until every child in California has the ability to access and succeed in college. Our California and state’s economy depends on it.”

The new 2018 California Higher Education Report Card was released as part of the “Our California” campaign, which provides a snapshot of the progress the state is making towards reaching 60 percent attainment by 2030 and closing racial equity gaps. The report card measures the state’s progress across four critical indicators – college preparation, access, completion, and affordability – that impact the state’s ability to meet the attainment goal.

  • California receives a B+ when it comes to fully preparing high school students for college. This takes into account high school graduation rates and completion rates of the A-G curriculum with a C or better.
  • California receives a D with regards to the number of Californians going to college. This measures both the percentage of recent high school graduates as well as workforce adults that are enrolling in college
  • California receives a C on college completion, which measures the rate at which students who enroll in college successfully complete a program of study.
  • California receives a C in its ability to keep college affordable for California families. This measures takes into account the real cost burden that low-income and middle-income must take on to send their children to California’s public colleges and universities.

Overall, the state receives a C (2.07) on the progress it is making towards reaching a 60 percent attainment goal by 2030. Read More


Public Colleges and Universities in CA receive over $1.3 billion boost
New Community College Funding Formula puts Historic Focus on Student Success

The Governor and Legislature are to be commended for passing an extraordinary higher education budget that puts students first. This budget, which boasts over $1.3 billion on higher education over last year, adds more than 4,000 spots for students at our public universities while ensuring the way we invest in community colleges values student success.

Thanks to the efforts of over thirty prominent civil rights, education, student, community and business groups coming together, Governor Brown and lawmakers answered the urgent call to do better by students by adopting a historic Student Success Funding Formula for California Community Colleges. Under this new equity-centered funding model, colleges will now be funded not only based on how many students they enroll, but also provided additional funding to support low-income students, and funding to reward progress for student completion. Specifically:

  • 70% of funding will be based on enrollment (how colleges are currently funded);
  • 20% of funding will be based on the number of low-income students a college serves;
  • 10% of funding will be based on successful student outcomes, including whether students transfer, earn an Associate Degree for Transfer, or earn a certificate or other degree. Extra points are earned for any of these successes for low-income students;
  • The hold harmless provision ensures no community college campus would receive less money than it did under the 2017-18 formula. Colleges will have a three-year transition period to allow for thoughtful implementation, including transitioning from a 70-20-10 distribution model in the first year to a 60-20-20 distribution model by the third year. They will also be provided funding increases during the transition years.

“Our state leaders have acted with urgency to improve student success in the past few years from reforming transfer to remedial education and now a funding formula that values student success. The combination of these bold investments and actions is a game-changer for our students who go to college with the hope and expectation of earning a degree, certificate, or transferring to a 4-year university,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Alexa Victoriano, a former Student Trustee of the Los Angeles Community College District said, “I don’t want to go to college just to explore. As a first-generation college student, I want to go to college to earn a degree, secure a good paying job, and do my part to help strengthen the economy. But I can’t do this alone.”

“Alexa, today the Governor and Legislature are standing with you. Their willingness to be bold and act with urgency will benefit generations to come and we stand firm to ensure the promise of today’s budget is realized,” concluded Siqueiros. Read more

Statement on Governor Brown’s May Revise to Funding Formula Proposal

Stronger funding formula proposal emerges that focuses on high needs students and key milestones

 “It’s clear that the Governor and Chancellor Oakley took to heart what students, civil rights and business leaders across the state care about when it comes to a funding formula that prioritizes student success and equity. As revised, this new funding formula proposal has the opportunity to be a game-changer for students who don’t just want a seat in our colleges but want the credential that opens up their future,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “Our state leaders have acted with urgency to improve student success in the past few years from reforming transfer to remedial education and now, with the promise of a funding formula that puts success on par with access, we cannot slow down!”

Over thirty prominent social justice, civil rights, business, and student organizations joined the Campaign for College Opportunity to press the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the Governor and Legislature to ensure any new funding formula addresses the needs of vulnerable populations, recognized important milestones in a students’ progression toward a degree, and provides additional incentives for colleges to promote the success of low-income students.

Governor Brown’s ambitious proposal to revise the California Community College funding formula has been strengthened significantly in his May Revise and now includes key considerations for the enrollment of low-income and undocumented students, progression milestones, and additional dollars toward the success of low-income students.

Download the Campaign’s Press Statement

California Gubernatorial Candidates Go On the Record with Higher Education Priorities

With under a month to go before California’s primary election, the Campaign for College Opportunity has released a new publication and three videos to inform voters about the leading gubernatorial candidates’ higher education priorities.

 On the Record: California’s Gubernatorial Candidates on Higher Education and three accompanying forum videos presents responses provided by John Chiang, John Chiang, and Antonio Villaraigosa to a series of questions on the major higher education issues impacting the state today.  Gubernatorial candidate John Cox was invited but unable to schedule a forum or respond to the On the Record questionnaire within the time frame allotted to all candidates.

On the Record and the three individual gubernatorial forums represent the first time this election season that the leading gubernatorial candidates have explicitly dedicated time to addressing higher education. Their engagement reflects their understanding that California voters see the economy and education as the most significant issues affecting the state.

California’s next Governor will have to address a growing shortfall of workers who possess the degrees needed to fill critical jobs. Given California’s future depends upon an educated workforce that keeps the state’s innovative edge and maintains our standing as the fifth largest economy in the world, On the Record and the three gubernatorial forum videos, are an essential resource for learning about the vision and ideas California’s next Governor has for higher education. Read more

College Promise Programs in Los Angeles County Receive Support to Strengthen Student Success

Research, technical assistance, philanthropy, advocacy, and business organizations collaborate to launch the Promises That Count initiative aimed at strengthening local College Promise programs and increasing the number of students who earn a college degree or who transfer.

(Los Angeles, April 3, 2018) — The California College Promise Project (CCPP) at WestEd is partnering with Campaign for College Opportunity and UNITE-LA to launch the Los Angeles County Promises That Count initiative. Funded by the California Community Foundation, the three-year initiative focuses on supporting the development, implementation, and continuous improvement of College Promise efforts, with the goal of ensuring stronger institutional support so more students graduate in Los Angeles County.

College Promise programs incentivize college enrollment, persistence, and completion by providing financial, academic, and other support services to students based on where they live or where they attend school. While the financial support from Promise programs is critically important for many students, it is not enough to ensure that they will be able to attain their higher education goals once they enroll in college.

Too many California college students do not complete a degree or, in the case of community college students, do not earn a credential or transfer to a four-year institution. Their higher education efforts can be derailed because of an outdated remedial education system, insufficient academic support, or a confusing transfer maze.

Key to making the promise count in a College Promise program is a program’s ability to mitigate or eliminate such barriers through academic support; clear, simple, and consistent messaging to students and their families; improved assessment and placement measures; education and career guidance; cohort models, guided pathways, and other support services. Read more

Fifty years after the East Los Angeles Walkouts, the struggle for educational equity continues in California higher education with a lack of diversity among faculty and leadership

Despite a racially and gender diverse student body at California’s public colleges and universities, centers of power remain White, threatening California’s ability to produce more college graduates and remain economically competitive.

(Los Angeles, CA) — Today, on the 50th anniversary of the East Los Angeles Walkouts, the Campaign for College Opportunity released a new report “Left Out: How Exclusion in California’s Colleges and Universities Hurts Our Values, Our Students, and Our Economy” that shows the drastic disparity between California’s public college and university students and higher education leaders and faculty when it comes to race and gender.

Fifty years ago in East Los Angeles, Latinx students led the protests over unequal conditions and practices in their high schools as part of a movement to improve the quality of their education and ensure they were prepared for college. Today Latinx make up 43% of undergraduate students in California and 69% of all undergraduate students are racially diverse. Despite this diversity, over 60% of college faculty and senior leadership on California’s campuses and 74% of Academic Senators are White. And, although 54% of college students are female, women are underrepresented among tenured faculty, academic senators, college leadership and in statewide governance.

California’s standing as the sixth largest economy in the world depends on producing more college graduates but persistent gaps in college access and success for African-American, Latinx, Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander (AANHPI) students hinder progress. Racially and gender diverse college leaders and faculty are key to improving success for all students.

“The findings of this report are not about demographics, they are about helping our education leaders and state policy makers understand that this issue of a lack of diversity is tied to student success,” said Paul Granillo, President and CEO of the Inland Empire Economic Partnership.

Left Out looks at data from 2016-17. Major findings include:

  • Within the University of California (UC) system, where 26% of the student body are Latinx, there are ZERO Latinx leaders in the UC Office of the President. Additionally, only 11% of college leaders, 7% of tenured faculty, and 5% of Academic Senators are Latinx… read more. 


Governor Brown’s final budget maintains focus on student success,
improved pathways and accountability

Governor Jerry Brown proposes $33.7 billion for California higher education in his 2018-19 budget proposal. The investment solidifies his signature fiscal prudence while continuing to enact investments and innovations to improve college performance that will live beyond his tenure.

“California’s greatest strength has historically been in its educated citizenry. The only way to maintain that stature is with continued higher education investment. Today’s budget proposal preserves the Governor’s commitment to improved student completion with innovative ideas for funding our colleges and universities and the delivery of education,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “The budget proposal, however, falls short of providing the additional funding necessary to expand seats at our public universities to meet increasing student and workforce demand,” concluded Siqueiros.

The Governor proposes an ambitious new funding formula for California Community Colleges that rewards better student outcomes by investing additional revenue in colleges for the number of students they graduate, the number who graduate within three years, and the number of students who earn an Associate Degree for Transfer. The proposal also suggests additional revenue for the number of low-income students a college enrolls. “Strategic funding by the state of California to increase college success by providing fiscal incentives to improve time to degree, transfer, and graduation is long overdue,” said Siqueiros. Read more. 


Bill passed by Congress avoids worst provisions for students and borrowers from past versions, but still harms how we fund higher education

Today, Congress passed H.R. 1, “The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” (Brady, R-TX) sending the bill to President Trump for his expected signature. Since its introduction in the House of Representatives, several of the provisions that most concerned higher education advocates have been removed due to wide public opposition. The bill’s author, Congressman Kevin Brady, said that these changes reflected, “how closely we listened to the American people as we worked to finalize the bill.” Reductions to tax credits that help families pay for college and a provision to make interest payments on student debt taxable were removed from the final version of the bill. While more immediate impacts on how students and families pay for college were avoided, this flawed bill would still undermine higher education financing by adding significant pressure to the budgets for states like California and the federal government. Read more.


Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives voted by a 227-205 margin to pass H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” authored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), which impacts key tax provisions that make college more accessible and affordable. At a time when states like California face major shortfalls of college-educated workers, this bill would undermine our ability to prepare students for a 21st-century economy. California currently faces a projected shortfall of 1.7 million college credentials needed to meet workforce demands by 2025. While there are many means through which we can better utilize federal tax policy to support college completion, the House’s tax bill is likely to make higher education more expensive and further out of reach for many hard-working students and their families.

Three ways in which the House “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” does not serve the interest of California or its students:

  • In streamlining the three existing higher education tax credits into the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the House’s tax proposal would simultaneously eliminate $17.5 billion in taxpayer support for higher education. While consolidating the currently available education tax benefits could better support and target students in need, the House bill does neither. Any taxpayer investment on higher education should be preserved within programs that support college access and affordability, rather than be redirected towards other uses.
  • Elimination of the state and local tax deduction on federal income taxes would make less revenue available for California and further contribute to the budgetary pressures that have led to declining state funding for the UC and CSU. Federal tax policy should not make it more difficult for states to support higher education and jeopardize our ability to enroll more students. Ten years since the onset of the Great Recession and despite recent reinvestment, we have still not yet reached 2008 levels of state funding for the California State University and University of California. Insufficient state support for public higher education has led to reduced capacity and increasing selectivity while we graduate record numbers of college-eligible high school students, as well as higher tuition rates for those that are admitted. Read more.


New law takes huge step toward addressing largest impediment to success in California Community Colleges; Remediation.

Today, Governor Brown signed historic legislation that ensures more students have access to college-level courses when they start community college, substantially increasing their chances of completing a degree, certificate or transfer!

AB 705 (Irwin), sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity, requires community colleges to use high school performance as a factor in determining course placement for college-level math and English.

“For too long, inaccurate high stakes placement tests put students behind and stopped them from ever crossing the graduation stage. With the signing of AB 705 into law, more students will be placed directly into college-level courses and be able to reach their goals,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

This law was introduced because more than 75% of California’s community college students are being assessed and placed into pre-college level courses annually, despite evidence that many of them could be successful in college-level courses, where only 40% will earn a degree, certificate or transfer after six years. Read more