To More College Acceptance Letters and Graduates

Every new year, the Campaign team returns from the holiday ready to roll up our sleeves and continue our mission to ensure every student can experience two special occasions: opening their long-awaited college acceptance letters and hitting the stage with their caps and gowns.

Memories of our own college acceptances and graduations also remind us to pause and reflect on the successes we have had thus far. With incredible allies like you by our side, 2019 was another successful year of increasing college opportunity. From rallying to protect access to our public colleges to celebrating the work of higher education champions at our events, we are grateful for your support! You can read all about our accomplishments here.

This year is already in full swing! Governor Newsom’s state budget proposal increased higher education spending by $110 million and put dollars toward closing racial equity gaps. The very next week, members of the Legislature introduced a bill to strengthen oversight of admissions changes at our public universities.

In this newsletter, you will get to meet our new fellows and read our latest brief on Guided Pathways. You will also get to see who made our 2019 Dean’s List and read about our support for Proposition 13 slated for the March ballot. Read more

Join the Search for the Next CSU Chancellor and UC President

The California State University (CSU) and the University of California (UC), two of the nation’s leading systems of public higher education, are seeking new leaders. These new leaders will inherit systems that are the backbone of California’s workforce and economy, worldwide drivers of research in innovation, more racially diverse than ever before, and facing serious capacity constraints and persistent racial/equity gaps in college access and graduation rates.

The CSU Board of Trustees and UC Board of Regents are embarking on their most important task as they conduct a search and identify their new leaders. We trust that they will conduct a diligent, transparent and inclusive search that identifies leaders committed to putting student success first and growing the college graduates that California needs. Read more

As the U.S. Supreme Court Hears DACA Cases, California Stands with Undocumented Students

Today, the United States Supreme Court will hear arguments on the future of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The program has been pivotal in ensuring a better future, access to jobs, and some peace of mind for an estimated 700,000 DACA recipients – the largest share of whom are California undocumented youth. While the Trump Administration moved to end the program in September 2017, various lawsuits have been filed seeking to defend the program, along with unsuccessful efforts to overturn it. Of the lawsuits filed, the U.S. Supreme Court has selected and “consolidated” three cases filed at the lower federal courts to review for oral argument: Regents of the University of California v. Department of Homeland Security, Batalla Vidal v. Nielsen, and NAACP v. Trump, which they will consider all together.

There is broad concern and anxiety as the U.S. Supreme Court finally hears the case. However, it is important to know that today’s hearing will not change the current status of the program. A decision on whether President Trump’s action to end DACA was lawful will not be decided immediately. Experts expect the U.S. Supreme Court to announce its decision sometime before June 2020. Until then, current DACA recipients are still able to renew their applications and maintain their status, although no first-time applications are allowed. Read more

Statement on the retirement of California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White

(Los Angeles, CA) — The Campaign for College Opportunity wishes to thank Chancellor White for his years of dedicated service to the California State University (CSU) system. Appointed in 2012, Chancellor White has led significant efforts to increase state funding, improve graduation rates for students, and bring greater gender-balance to presidential posts across the 23 campuses.

Chancellor White took the helm of the CSU when state funding had declined by nearly $1 billion. Since then, Chancellor White has led successful campaigns in the State Capitol calling for reinvestment in the CSU. His efforts have led to a state general fund allocation increase of $3.6 billion. Those additional resources have been allocated to expanding capacity to serve more students and toward the CSU’s Graduation Initiative 2025.

On August 2, 2017, Chancellor White issued Executive Order 1110, which retired the use of assessment exams for English and math placement and eliminated the use of stand-alone remedial education courses. All incoming CSU students are now placed directly into credit-bearing, college-level math and English courses with additional student supports. The policy acknowledges students are ready for college and that it is our colleges and universities themselves that must do a better job of supporting students. The policy is already seeing tremendous success; between 2017-18 there was an eight-fold increase in students who completed a college-level lower division math course in their first year.

Chancellor White has also been an ardent champion of gender equity. Today, twelve of the 23 CSU campus presidents are women; eleven of whom have been appointed during Chancellor White’s tenure. Under White’s leadership, CSU has had the largest number of women presidents in CSU history and is nearly double the national average.

Chancellor White has had a remarkable career serving students as professor, dean, provost, campus Chancellor and systemwide Chancellor and we wish him the best in retirement.

We now look to the CSU Board of Trustees to be diligent and transparent as they select a successor that reflects and understands the diversity of today’s California students and the unique space the CSU occupies in serving first-generation, low-income, racially diverse students. Read more

Fifteen California Colleges and Universities Lead the State in Supporting Transfer Students

The Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT) has transformed the lives of college students across the state. Since its creation with SB 1440 (Padilla) in 2010, more than 200,000 students have earned an Associate Degree for Transfer! That’s more than twice the amount of Disneyland’s maximum capacity.

Every year, the Campaign honors campuses that lead the state in Associate Degree for Transfer implementation as “Champions of Higher Education.” This year, we would like to extend our congratulations to the following colleges: Read more

Five New Student-Centered Policies Deliver a Win for California

As Governor Newsom took final action on bills this past week, we are proud to share that five student-centered policies championed by the Campaign were signed by the Governor. These bills expand support and protections to vulnerable student populations, including undocumented students, as they work to achieve their college dreams.

We congratulate Governor Newsom and legislative leaders on a successful year of policy accomplishments and thank them for supporting legislation to increase college opportunity and student success.

The Campaign’s 2019 Legislative Agenda advanced many recommendations outlined in our Blueprint for Higher Education – a roadmap for meeting future worked demands and closing persistent racial equity gaps. One of the policies the Campaign has long championed was reflected in Assembly Bill 130, which would have established the Higher Education Performance, Accountability, and Coordination Commission to provide state-level leadership responsible for postsecondary planning, oversight and coordination. While we recognize the Governor’s commitment to strengthening higher education in California, we are disappointed by his decision to veto AB 130. Read more

California’s Undocumented Students Speak Out

It is Undocumented Student Action Week and the Campaign for College Opportunity is pleased to share with you our latest brief, In Their Voices: Undocumented in California Public Colleges & Universities. In Their Voices uplifts the experiences of undocumented students and highlights the ways in which our state and college leaders can better support undocumented students as they seek out college opportunity.

College opportunity is key to ensuring that California can meet its economic goals, and immigrant students are poised to make major contributions to future growth. California is home to 27% of the nation’s undocumented immigrants and educates an estimated 64,000 to 86,000 undocumented students in the state’s public colleges and universities.

However, educational attainment rates for California’s undocumented students trail the nation’s. Read more

Celebrating and Protecting College Opportunity

The start of the new school year is full of excitement and promise. For both of us, it has meant watching the young women in our lives take the next steps in their educational journeys.
Jessie’s Reflections
In my 14 years of working at the Campaign, I have most enjoyed seeing our work come full-circle, impacting the lives of students we meet. I was especially proud to see my niece, Bianca, earn an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT), nine years after we championed the legislation that created the ADT. Bianca is one of over 159,000 students to earn this degree, and I was thrilled to see her graduate and enroll in the Sacramento State junior class.
Audrey’s Reflections
I have been looking at my daughter Isabella’s baby pictures and wondering how time flew so quickly between the pictures of her early years and the last few selfies I snapped as I dropped her off on campus for her freshman year of college. Moving my first-born into her new dorm, I was reminded of my late grandfather, who would have celebrated his birthday the same week Isabella started college. My grandfather was an immigrant from Mexico who came to this country so that his children could have a better life. Isabella’s success thus far is a testament to his grit and resilience when facing the obstacles many immigrants face moving to a new country. Read more

New Research on the Impact of AB 705

For too long, talented California students were trapped in a downward spiral of remedial education courses from which they’d never emerge. Community colleges largely relied on ineffective standardized tests that placed more than 75 percent of incoming students into lengthy remedial course sequences, where few ever reached transfer-level courses or achieved their college goals. But thanks to Assembly Bill 705, California’s community colleges are ushering in a new era of placing students into courses where they are most likely to succeed.

Today, the Campaign for College Opportunity in partnership with the California Acceleration Project released a regional progress report, “Getting There: Are California Colleges Maximizing Student Completion of Transfer-Level Math and English?” that looks at how well California’s community colleges are implementing AB 705.

The report looks at 47 colleges in Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, and the Central Valley, and finds that AB 705 has catalyzed tremendous changes in community college course offerings. Between 2018 and 2019, colleges have doubled the proportion of transfer-level courses they are offering. Read more

New Law is Catalyzing Big Changes at California Community Colleges

Colleges in Los Angeles, Inland Empire and Central Valley take key steps to tackle long-standing problems with remedial education, but progress is uneven.

(Los Angeles, CA) – – The Campaign for College Opportunity released a regional progress report, “Getting There: Are California Colleges Maximizing Student Completion of Transfer-Level Math and English?” that looks at how well California’s community colleges are implementing AB 705, a new law intended to reform remedial education.

Beginning this fall, California’s community colleges are required, under AB 705, to utilize a student’s high school grades for English and math course placement. The law also prohibits colleges from denying students access to transfer-level courses and gives students the right to begin in courses where they have the best chance of completing the English and math requirements for a bachelor’s degree. Until now, colleges largely relied on ineffective standardized tests that placed more than 75% of incoming students into lengthy remedial math and/or English sequences where few ever reached transfer-level courses or achieved their college goals.

The progress report, conducted by the California Acceleration Project, looks at course schedules from 47 colleges in Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, and the Central Valley and finds that AB 705 has catalyzed tremendous changes in community college course offerings. Between 2018 and 2019, colleges have doubled the proportion of transfer-level courses they are offering; transfer-level classes have increased from 45 percent to 88 percent in English and from 33 percent to 71 percent in math. Read More