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New Research: Chutes or Ladders? Strengthening California Community College Transfer So More Students Earn the Degrees They Seek

Report Cover Chutes or Ladders
Today, the Campaign for College Opportunity released “Chutes or Ladders: Strengthening California Community College Transfer So More Students Earn the Degrees They Seek.” Join us today at 1pm for a webinar on this report (details below).

Like Chutes and Ladders game players, California community college students who want to transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree are trying to make progress, but one bad roll of the dice can set them back several turns.

The result is that less than 3% of California community college students transfer in two years, 23% in four years, and 40% in six years. Even after six years, 60% do not transfer at all. For those students who reach transfer on the gameboard, less than half will earn their bachelor’s degree at the CSU and less than two-thirds will earn their bachelor’s degree at the UC in two years.

“Chutes or Ladders” demonstrates how improving transfer for community college students is central to remedying racial inequity in higher education and offers recommendations for removing remaining obstacles for students in the transfer process and for strengthening the ADT pathway. Read more

Governor Newsom Makes Additional $12 Billion Commitment to Higher Education, Calls for 70% of California Adults to Have a College Credential

Gov. Newsom
The new budget reflects a historic commitment to affordability via student housing and reinvests significantly in the California Community Colleges, California State University and University of California system

Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a once-in-a-generation $12 billion increase for higher education over his January proposal, with sweeping one-time and ongoing investments in college affordability, strengthening college pathways, improving time to degree and graduation, while also addressing the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on students. The investments are focused on helping students that stand to benefit the most from higher education while closing persistent racial equity gaps that have only become worse during the COVID-19 pandemic. The Governor’s May budget proposal is in stark contrast to the budget outlook in January.

The total higher education budget proposed in the Governor’s May Revise stands at $48 billion, up from $36 billion in January. The largest and most significant investment is a one-time $4 billion allocation to establish a low-cost student housing grant program to expand affordable student housing options, tackling head-on the housing crisis amongst California students, a major barrier to college affordability. The Governor also proposes making financial aid for summer courses a permanent offering at the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU), while maintaining his commitment to the current Cal Grant program. Read more

In Loving Memory: David B. Wolf


It is with a truly heavy heart that I share the news that the Campaign for College Opportunity’s co-founder, David Wolf, passed away on April 9, 2021.

After an amazing career in higher education, David Wolf joined Steve Weiner on a road trip across California in retirement. They spoke to experts, did research, raised money, and convinced iconic civil rights leader Antonia Hernandez, legendary business leader Bill Hauck, and prominent community college champion David Viar to co-found the Campaign for College Opportunity in 2004.

David and Steve then launched a rigorous search for a leader. I was less than six years out of grad school and I saw this job announcement – a leader who could ensure California would protect the promise of college opportunity. I read that job announcement and found my purpose. Sheryl Sandberg might have called it leaning in. I’d never run an organization or raised money, but I really wanted to do this work and had ideas for why I was a good fit. I sent my cover letter and resume and got my first-round interview. It was scheduled at the Wolf home, which had a beautiful pathway to the front door with big bay windows. Behind these windows, David and Steve positioned themselves so they could see you and judge your prospects before you even got a handshake in. Read more

Continuing our Racial Equity Work in 2021


We enter Spring celebrating the recent news that almost half of California’s eligible population has received a vaccine to protect against Covid-19. We are cautiously optimistic and hopeful that students will be able to return to class and that we will be able to hug our loved ones. We also celebrate the appointment of former California Attorney General Xavier Becerra to lead the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the first Latino to hold this position. Watching our homegrown leaders who actively supported the work of the Campaign for College Opportunity over the years, including Secretary Becerra, Vice President Kamala Harris, and Senator Alex Padilla, move into national leadership roles makes us enormously proud.

As we celebrate good news, we are also disheartened by the more insidious and active virus of racism and racial injustice across our nation. This is especially true as we watch the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin for killing George Floyd, the protests near Minneapolis for the death of Daunte Wright at the hands of the police, the brutal murder of Asian Americans in Atlanta, and the senseless attacks against members of our Asian American community in our own state.

Our anti-racist and racial equity-focused work must continue and must be inclusive of Asian Americans. Specifically, the Campaign for College Opportunity will continue to call for racial justice in higher education for Asian American students, which includes advocating for data disaggregated by race/ethnicity and dispelling the model minority myth that hinders many Asian students from receiving the targeted support they need to succeed and often is used to pit minoritized communities against each other. Later this year, we will be releasing our updated State of Higher Education for Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander Californians report, which will include both policy and campus-level recommendations to better serve all Asian American, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander students. In the meantime, you can click here, here, and here to find resources to combat anti-Asian racism. I encourage you to review these resources. Read more

Transforming Transfer with AB 928 (Berman): The Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act of 2021


Today, we are proud to announce our sponsorship of priority transfer legislation, AB 928, authored by Assemblymember Marc Berman.

AB 928 will strengthen and transform transfer in California so that more California Community College students can reach their goal of earning a bachelor’s degree by simplifying the path to transfer for students and building on the framework of the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT).

AB 928 would:
– Establish an intersegmental implementation committee to hold campuses accountable and enable a statewide focus on simplifying transfer. The creation of an intersegmental implementation committee is vital to ensuring coordination among institutions.
– Consolidate the two existing general education pathways into one that meets admission requirements at both the CSU and UC.
– Automate the placement of all community college students onto an ADT pathway intended for their major. In doing so, a student will be placed directly onto the pathway that will maximize their probability of entering and completing a four-year university degree in their chosen field of study in a timely manner, while minimizing the accrual of excess units. Read more

The State of Higher Education for Black Californians


In January, we honored Secretary Weber for her dedication to increasing racial equity in higher education at our Dean’s List Reception.

To commemorate Black History Month, on February 23rd, the Campaign for College Opportunity is releasing The State of Higher Education for Black Californians. In this report, we provide comprehensive data on the current state of college preparation, access and success for Black residents in our state.

For a presentation on the report’s key findings and discussion on the opportunities for our state and college leaders to ensure more Black students are supported in ways that ensure they reach their college dreams, register for our webinar on February 23rd at 10:30 a.m. PST. Read more

The Possibility Report: From Prison to College Degrees


Last year, as protests across the nation challenged state violence against Black people in America, leaders across California affirmed and reaffirmed their commitments to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We hope to see those same leaders assess and expand those commitments to ensure they include an often-overlooked population: currently and formerly incarcerated students.

The Campaign for College Opportunity partnered with Danny Murillo, a formerly incarcerated scholar who has made it his life’s mission to ensure incarcerated and formerly incarcerated people have the opportunity to go to college and change their lives, to produce our latest research brief, The Possibility Report: From Prison to College Degrees in California.

The Possibility Report uplifts the voices of formerly incarcerated students from California’s public colleges and universities, who candidly and vulnerably share the challenges they faced transitioning from incarceration to a college campus. In listening to their stories, common barriers and recommendations for change emerged. Read more

2021 Challenges Require our Continued Effort


2020 brought many challenges, and not enough can be said about the tremendous loss that has been felt across the country and the world.

With heavy hearts, we soldiered on, as the pandemic laid bare the need to protect our state’s most vulnerable students and ensure they had the resources and support needed to get to college and continue their education. The need for the Campaign to safeguard college opportunity in our state remains.

In early March 2020, we partnered with leading student advocates from across the state to host a virtual press conference, outlining recommendations for urgent action in the areas of learning, basic needs, admissions, graduation, supporting student workers, and supporting undocumented students during the pandemic. That critical conversation inspired us to kick off a virtual speaker series with key leaders in California and in higher education, including Read more

Governor Newsom’s Budget Proposes a Critical $1.3B in Increased Investment in Higher Education


Governor Gavin Newsom proposed a $1.3 billion increase for higher education in his third Budget proposal with vital student investments spanning early childhood education to college, an intentional focus on closing racial equity gaps, strengthening infrastructure proven to increase college access and completion, and support for vulnerable student populations most impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Offering struggling students a lifeline during COVID-19, the Governor’s proposed budget provides $190.6 million in emergency assistance for California’s community colleges to bolster student retention, provide emergency financial assistance for low-income students, and other key supports. It also includes $30 million for the California State University (CSU) and $15 million for the University of California (UC) for emergency grants for full-time, low-income students. Read more

Celebrating the historic appointment of Secretary of State Alex Padilla to the U.S. Senate

Sen. Padilla Signing SB 1440, 2010

Today we celebrate the historic appointment of Secretary of State Alex Padilla to the United States Senate.

From the heart of the San Fernando Valley, the son of hard-working immigrants from Mexico, a graduate of MIT who has dedicated his life to public service, Secretary Padilla will become the first Latino U.S. Senator from California.

As a former State Senator, Padilla became our fiercest champion and closest friend. He worked with us to expand college opportunity and secure historic legislation that would create a strong transfer pathway from community college to our public universities and protect financial aid. As the first Latino to serve as Secretary of State, he expanded voting rights, protected the integrity of our elections, and oversaw the state’s biggest voter turnout in history.

We are thrilled that the U.S. Senate will have a champion for education and voting rights – and a strong friend for college opportunity. Read more