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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

Press Statement: Governor’s 2016-17 Budget Proposal

Governor Jerry Brown’s 2016-17 budget proposal increases funding for the state’s public colleges and universities by $596 million while making ongoing investments in access and student success.

The Governor proposes encouraging investments in California Community Colleges, including expanding enrollment funding by 2% to serve an additional 50,000 students, $248 million for programs that support career technical education and student transition to the workforce, and $25 million for Innovation Awards to—among other things—improve transfer pathways. Particularly encouraging is the $30 million proposal to continue investment in better preparing students for college level work.

To read the full press statement, click here.

Press Statement: Extended Deadline for UC Transfer Applicants

Today the University of California (UC) strengthened their commitment to increasing the number of transfer students they serve by extending the application window for qualified students wishing to transfer from a California community college.

The extension from November 30th to January 4th has the potential to increase the number of transfer applicants to the UC. The news of the application extension comes just five months after UC’s announcement of the Transfer Pathways, an effort to streamline transfer between California Community Colleges and the UC. The news is also on the heels of UC’s announcement to add 10,000 new spots for California undergraduates over the next three years.

Read full press statement>>

Press Statement: University of California will add 10,000 additional spots for California students by 2018

The Regents of the University of California (UC) approved the plan presented by President Janet Napolitano and will accept 10,000 more California students across the UC through 2018.  This will be funded with the $25 million allocated by the recent 2015-16 state budget and by phasing out the UC’s need-based aid for low-income students from other states.

Since 1994, the number of applicants from California students applying to the UC has more than doubled. Unfortunately, the UC has not kept pace with demand and students are finding it harder to get in. Insufficient state funding and increasing competition for too few college spots means increasingly well-qualified students are nonetheless turned away.  In response, the UC has significantly increased the enrollment of out-of-state and international students – which comes with big revenue benefits –  while the number of California students at the UC has remained flat.

Read full press statement >>

Press Statement: Education Trust-West new report, “Black Minds Matter”

The Education Trust-West today released “Black Minds Matter: Supporting the Educational Success of Black Children in California,” which looks at how the nearly one million Black youth in the state are faring from preschool through college.
The report is a clear reminder of how California is failing to provide all Black youth with the education preparation and opportunities that make the California Dream possible and can strengthen our economic future.

Read Full Statement

Sacramento State program tackles college achievement gap among Asian students


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Nationwide Free Community College Assessed by an Expert

By Campaign for College Opportunity

Communications Manager Jamal E. Mazyck

Long Beach City College District Superintendent-President Eloy Ortiz Oakley has been quite vocal about his position in support of the recently proposed America’s College Promise initiative from the Obama Administration. The proposal aims to make two years of community college free for responsible students and highlights the need for two-year institutions to strengthen their student success programs. On the heels of the launch of Heads Up America, an independent campaign to raise awareness on the significance of community colleges, I sat down with President Oakley, who helped launch The Long Beach Promise with former president of California State University Long Beach F. King Alexander, and Long Beach Unified School District Superintendent Christopher J. Steinhauser. The initiative is designed to improve college preparation, access and completion for locals. Among other guarantees, the Long Beach Promise offers a free year of tuition to Long Beach high school students at Long Beach City College. Upon community college completion, students are then offered guaranteed admission to CSU-Long Beach. Most recently, the City of Long Beach became involved by offering internships to students in this unique pipeline. I discussed how President Oakley’s academic and professional career path has shaped his view on the prospect of free community college for responsible students.


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‘The Model Minority’ at the Country’s Top-Ranked Universities

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How Researchers And Policymakers Ignore Impoverished Asian Students

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