Higher Ed Archives - The Campaign for College Opportunity

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

100,000 Associate Degrees for Transfer Awarded and Other Wins We’re Celebrating

Graduation season is in full swing, and while students across California are turning their tassels, we are cheering them on and celebrating for several reasons.

First, over 100,000 Associate Degrees for Transfer (ADT) have been conferred since the degree’s inception! We could fill the entire Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum with ADT earners and still need seats for 7,000 more! In 2010, with then-senator Alex Padilla and many of you, we passed historic legislation creating the ADT, which offers a clear pathway for transferring from the California Community Colleges to the California State University (CSU). We are so proud to see that so many students are benefiting from the ADT and are able to graduate from their community colleges, earn ADTs, and are offered guaranteed admission with junior standing to the CSU. The policies we collectively work so hard to pass are having a real impact on our students, and that’s a reason to celebrate.

But, the celebration doesn’t end there because the ADT’s impact is expanding. Recently, the University of California (UC) and the California Community Colleges signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will give community college students who earn ADTs and meet certain qualifications guaranteed admission to the UC . For years, the Campaign has called upon the Governor, Legislature, the UC Regents and President to urge the UC to align transfer requirements with the ADT and offer guaranteed admission to students that meet the requirements. Thanks to this new agreement, community college students, through the ADT, have a guaranteed pathway to the CSU and the UC!

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

Happening Now! Invest in Success Advocacy Day


Today, the Campaign for College Opportunity and The Education Trust—West, in coalition with eighteen civil rights, student, business, education, and community organizations, are at the State Capitol advocating for a community college funding formula that centers on equity and student success.

California Community Colleges serve a diverse student body of approximately 2.1 million students with goals of university transfer, career technical education, and basic skills. These institutions promise an affordable path for students to reach their college and career goals. However, too many students fail to cross the finish line.

The current community college funding formula encourages campuses to enroll more students, but fails to ensure that these institutions prioritize student success, improve outcomes, or close equity gaps faced by Latinx; African American; Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander; and low-income students.

Students don’t enroll in college without a belief that they will cross the finish line. How we fund our community colleges should reflect that students want more than just “access” to campuses, they want to transfer, earn a degree or certificate, and leave college prepared to succeed in their careers. Without better-aligned investments in critical student supports, large racial/ethnic gaps will continue and unacceptable completion rates will persist. Read more

Why Thousands of Eligible Students Fail to Complete Their FAFSA

Foster-care-money-for-college-Blog

Each February, thousands of students across California will learn about obscure sounding tax terminology. Too often, whether a student can piece together enough knowhow about the tax code will determine if they learn about the help available to pay for college.

“What’s our adjusted gross income?”

“How do you count how many people are in our ‘household’?”

These are just two questions that parents and adults field from students as they start their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the application required to determine eligibility for most financial aid programs that help cover college costs, ranging from student loans to Cal Grants, the state program in California that awards over $2 billion annually to help students afford college. Students in California must complete their entire FAFSA, running more than 100 questions long, before the Cal Grant deadline (March 2) to claim any state-based assistance for which they are eligible. Unfortunately, data on who does not complete the FAFSA depicts a grim reality: many of the students that stand to most benefit from college leave their money on the table, potentially incurring greater costs themselves or even worse –  not enrolling in college altogether due to the costs they face.

In 2016, The Campaign for College Opportunity set out to quantify the amount of Pell Grant funds left unused by California students, funds that would have otherwise helped low-income students pay for college. The results were staggering. We found that in 2014, more than 144,000 California high school graduates failed to complete a FAFSA, resulting in over $340 million going unclaimed and unused by eligible students. These are not funds that need to be won in the never-ending Congressional budget debates. These dollars are already allocated towards financial aid, but we have yet to make it enough of a priority to make sure they get to their end users – students. Read More

And the Higher Education Grammy Goes to…

Champions SealSecretary of State Alex Padilla called the Campaign for College Opportunity’s Champions of Higher Education award “the equivalent of a Grammy, the equivalent of an Oscar, and maybe even the equivalent of a World Series ring all rolled into one.”

While the Recording Academy hands out Grammys for Best New Artist, Album of the Year and Song of the Year, we awarded Champions of Higher Education awards for Excellence in Transfer, our higher education version of the Grammys, as Secretary Padilla calls it.

Specifically, these “Grammys” are awarded to California Community Colleges and California State Universities (CSU) that have supported students through the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT), a streamlined transfer pathway that offers guaranteed admission with junior standing at the CSU. The goal of the Associate Degree for Transfer pathway is to increase the number of students transferring to 4-year universities by streamlining the transfer process. Our research shows that 48% of students with an ADT graduate from the California State University within two years with their bachelor’s degree compared to only 27% of traditional transfer students. And, since its inception in 2010, more than 69,000 students have earned an Associate Degree for Transfer.

The California Community Colleges and California State Universities that received the awards produced the largest number of students earning Associate Degrees for Transfer and have demonstrated significant growth in students earning the degree year over year.

Here are the California Community College Grammy categories and winners: Read More

“Transfer maze” awaits California community college students, advocacy group says

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Education leaders contemplate what Trump presidency means for California education | EdSource

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Press Statement: Statement on the Introduction of SB 1050 (de Leon)

Increasing the number of California K-12 students eligible for the state’s public universities and ensuring seats for California students at the University of California

Today, California Senate pro Tempore Kevin de León (Los Angeles) introduced visionary legislation that ensures a student’s zip code or income status does not determine whether they are adequately prepared and get the opportunity to go to college.

Now more than ever, California needs more students to earn a bachelor’s degree – our economy demands it. By 2030, 38% of all jobs will require at least a bachelor’s degree. But if current trends persist, only 33% of adults will hold a bachelor’s degree leaving the workforce 1.1 million bachelor degree holders short. Businesses need more college educated workers and students know they need more than a high school diploma to realize their full potential and make it into the middle class.

Read the Entire Press Statement