California annually fails to serve more than 300,000 students seeking financial aid, despite meeting academic standards and demonstrating financial need
For far too long, California has been staring down an impending economic reality: our economy will have more vacant positions than workers with the educational qualifications needed to take them on. Due to employers’ increasing demand for educated talent and the retirements of highly-educated baby boomers, the most recent analysis by the Campaign for College Opportunity found that California will fall short by 1.65 million college degrees or credentials to meet its workforce demands in 2030.
The troubling reality is that while business and the economy continue to evolve, often near breakneck speeds in California, our educational systems and policies struggle to keep pace. California’s approach to investing in its human capital, our students, is in especially dire need of an update.
Smarter targeting of public resources is necessary to close the college degree gap, not just a minor contributing factor to student success or “feel good” use of public dollars. For many California families, covering all the costs of their children’s college dreams would be virtually impossible without the investments made available for talented students with financial need. Consider this: More than half of Latinx families of four, and nearly as high a share of American Indian and Black families earn less than $49,000 annually. It is difficult enough to care for a family with such limited financial resources, but saving for college and the growing costs that go beyond the sticker price of tuition becomes untenable.
Those non-tuition costs are growing quickly. The total everything students must afford to be successful in college, not only tuition but also books, living expenses, and transportation. In just the past 15 years, the total cost of attendance has increased by more than 200 percent at each of the public higher education systems in California. Read More