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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

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

Leadership Matters for Student Success

Last week, I penned an opinion editorial in EdSource that spoke to the urgency of investing in and transforming community colleges to drastically improve student success. When fewer than half of all community college students earn a degree, credential or transfer after six years, and when these rates are worse for Latinx, and Black students, we must do better.

Governor Brown, the Legislature, and Community College Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley have been unabashed in their commitment to radically improve student success through bold investments and policy reforms. With these leaders we have championed historic investments to expand college access, preserve financial aid, fix remedial education and placement practices, and ensure clear pathways in and through college. This is also why today – alongside civil rights and education leaders across California – we support the Governor’s proposed community college student success funding formula, which makes improving student outcomes and serving low-income students a priority.

Because leadership matters, earlier this year we released a historic report, Left Out: How Exclusion in California’s Colleges and Universities Hurts Our Values, Our Students, and Our Economy, on the importance of racial and gender inclusion in higher education leadership to student success. We found that our college leaders and faculty are not reflective of the diversity of our students even while we know that these leaders are key to producing more college graduates and closing racial gaps. 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!

Research Roundup: Exclusion in CA’s Colleges and Universities Hurts Our Values, Our Students, and Our Economy

Students across the state, like Theresa Jean Ambo, understand the need for more racial and gender diversity in higher education leadership because of their individual experiences. But, the data we collected in our latest report,  Left Out: How Exclusion in California’s Colleges and Universities Hurts Our Values, Our Students, and Our Economy proves that the lack of racial and gender diversity is a systemic problem that must be addressed.
Left Out found that 69% of California college students come from diverse racial backgrounds, yet the faculty, senior leadership, and Academic Senates in California higher education are over 60% White. And, while 54% of college students are women, women are underrepresented across higher education leadership and faculty.
The stark racial and gender inequities reported in Left Out underscore the experiences students have felt for generations. And it reminds us time and time again of the need for good data, disaggregated by race and gender, that can tell us the scale of a problem, groups affected, and pinpoint areas for improvement.
Collecting and reporting data on race and gender that reveals systemic shortcomings in higher education is not easy to do. That is why, during our Changing Faces lecture series, we honored four California leaders as our 2018 “Beacon of Light” award recipients. These leaders shine a bright light on the importance of racial equity through their research. 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

Winter 2018 Newsletter: A Year of Equity in Higher Education

WOCStudying SMALL
When we set out on our mission to ensure that all Californians have the opportunity to attend and succeed in college, we did mean all. That is why we are doubling down our calls for racial equity in higher education.

From the Gold Rush to the tech boom – California has been a magnet for dreamers, risk takers, and innovative leaders who make up the rich diversity of our state. Our success as the sixth largest economy in the world has been our pay off. In 2018, we will focus on ensuring stronger investments in higher education, strengthening support and pathways for college students, defending DACAmented and undocumented students, calling for inclusion in higher education that reflects the diversity of our state, pressing for student success solutions that closes gaps by race and gender, and calling upon gubernatorial candidates to lay out a clear and bold vision for higher education supportive of these priorities.

Next week, we will release Left Out: How Exclusion in California’s Colleges and Universities Hurts Our Values, Our Students and Our Economy. Our report finds that while 69% of our students come from diverse racial/ethnic backgrounds and 54% of students are women – college leaders, faculty and academic senators at our community colleges, California State Universities, and University of California campuses do not reflect this diversity… read more.

A Holiday Gift from the Campaign for College Opportunity

Happy Holidays from StaffWe have much to be grateful for this holiday season, especially wonderful supporters like you. We are inspired by the many individuals and organizations working to help students achieve their college dreams. Thank you for sharing our research, supporting our policy agenda, attending our events, and standing with us to protect and expand financial aid and college opportunity for undocumented students.
The Campaign for College Opportunity team created a musical playlist as our gift to you. Each one of us selected a song that inspires and motivates us. Together, this eclectic playlist includes everything from dance music to R&B, and of course, there’s a “Hamilton” selection as well. We hope you enjoy this playlist as much as we do. Read more. 

Champions of Higher Education Celebration A Huge Success

Collage v2Last week, we hosted our second annual Champions of Higher Education celebration in downtown Los Angeles with 150 of our closest friends.
We shared a beautiful evening honoring nine California Community Colleges and four California State Universities for their exemplary efforts in implementing the Associate Degree for Transfer. We also honored California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León for his legislative leadership on higher education policy, former President of the College Futures Foundation, Julia Lopez, for supporting the programs and policies that help more students reach their college dreams, the University of California Board of Regents and UC President Janet Napolitano for their support of undocumented and DACAmented students, and EdSource, for exceptional journalism covering California’s higher education landscape. Read more. 

Fall 2017 Newsletter

The political climate in our nation is troubling, and in many ways, our students are at the epicenter of these turbulent times. Many undocumented students face uncertainty about their futures, and counselors are reporting higher rates of emotional stress among students. Protests continue to emerge on college campuses across the country as we still find ourselves grappling with deeply embedded prejudice and racism.
But as I saw my first-born off to his last year of high school earlier this month, I was reminded of the obligation we have to move forward and find solutions to our most pressing issues. It is with this optimism that I share encouraging and hopeful work on the horizon.

First, promising legislation we’ve sponsored, Assembly Bill 705 (Irwin), has made its way to the Governor’s desk! AB 705 ensures more students have access to college-level courses when they start community college by requiring colleges to use high school transcripts as a factor in determining course placement for college-level math and English. Transforming the way our colleges do placement can be the single greatest lever to improve the success of community college students, and we’re on the verge of history!

 Read the full newsletter here.