Black Lives Matter. This is How We Ensure they Do in California Higher Education.

This should go without saying, but it seems we must make it plain: Black Lives Matter.

Our hearts are heavy with the pain of seeing thousands of lives taken by police year after year and watching Black people attacked and killed by racist Americans in their own neighborhoods as they go for a run, enjoy birdwatching at the park, or simply exist as a Black person. The Campaign for College Opportunity joins the public outcry for justice and change with community leaders, demonstrators, and organizations in all fifty states and countries around the world.

We understand that true allyship is an active and continuous practice and that solidarity means very little without action. As we have done over the past 16 years, the Campaign will continue to push for anti-racist policies that dismantle long-standing oppressive structures in our society. As an organization dedicated to ensuring equity in college opportunity, that means tackling racism in higher education. Read more

Governor Newsom’s 2020-21 May Revision Budget Proposal Warns of Nearly $2 Billion in Draconian Cuts to Higher Education if Federal Government Fails to Assist California

Governor Newsom had difficult decisions and serious cuts to make in this 2020-21 budget proposal, and it is clear things will get significantly worse if the federal government fails to provide needed assistance.

We call on Congress and the President to invest in a rapid economic recovery, by providing deserved federal assistance to our state in recognition that there cannot be an American recovery, without a California one.

In his updated budget proposal, Governor Newsom is responding to the economic challenges brought on by COVID-19 and eliminates many of his January proposals to expand enrollment funding for our public colleges and universities. Without aid from the federal government, California’s community colleges and universities stand to lose nearly $2 billion: $388 million at the University of California, $398 million at the California State University, and a total of $1.09 billion at the community colleges. Read more

Affirming Equal Opportunity in Higher Education with a Repeal of Proposition 209

California is home to world-class public universities, and we must ensure that diverse Californians can also benefit from the opportunity these universities provide. Unfortunately, Black, Latinx, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and Native American students are underrepresented in our universities.

Since the passage of Proposition 209 in 1996 by California voters, which banned affirmative action, alternative admissions policies and other practices at universities to increase the diversity of their student body have not been adequate.

In the Fall of 2019, the University of California (UC) undergraduate student population was 33% Asian and Pacific Islander, 25% Latinx, 21% White, and 4% Black, not at all reflective of our state’s diversity. Read more

Holding the Line on College Access and Success

The COVID-19 global crisis has been difficult for all of us. My heart goes out to those struggling to beat the virus, to those suffering through financial strife, and to everyone striving to adapt to new ways of living. There are so many heroes to be thankful for, from our healthcare workers to food providers and delivery workers. Our higher education leaders can also be counted among those front-line heroes. The lift for our colleges and universities has been herculean, as they rapidly moved millions of students to online learning to keep them safe. Our college leaders are working around the clock to ensure students have the technology needed to engage in online learning, the emergency aid needed for food and shelter, and the health services and counseling needed for student success. They have also been working to design new scenarios for the future in an uncertain time. We are deeply grateful for the heroes who are giving their all to protect college opportunity and keep California strong. Read more

We Applaud the UC for Adapting Admissions Requirements to Protect College Opportunity

We applaud University of California (UC) President Janet Napolitano, the Regents and faculty leaders for their decision to ease admissions requirements for 2021 applicants. Their rapid response will ensure both admitted and prospective students have the opportunity to attend the UC despite the disruption to education this pandemic has caused.

The COVID-19 crisis has exposed and exacerbated underlying inequities in our K-12 educational systems. Many students are struggling with accessing basic technology and internet service to engage in online learning. First-generation students are unable to access the high-touch counseling and guidance they need to navigate their college admissions decisions if they are seniors or the college application process if they are juniors. More and more students are dealing with the stress and realities of job loss and illness in their families and may be realizing that their financial aid offers are no longer sufficient. Learning from home may pose a number of new challenges that have a negative impact on grades, jeopardizing grade point averages. Without intervention, these challenges could impact a student’s decision to enroll this fall or—for juniors in high school—to apply to the UC. UC’s bold move to ease admission requirements, however, will ensure all students have their rightful spot at the state’s premier research institution. Read more

Resources and Next Steps for Supporting College Opportunity and Success Through the COVID-19 Crisis

There is no playbook for how to best respond to a global pandemic, but the extraordinary efforts of our public college and university leaders as they work nonstop to keep our students, faculty, and staff safe while learning continues has been exemplary. We are incredibly grateful to them!

At the federal level, we have joined over 50 organizations across the nation to urge Congress to support students in response to campus closures and restrictions. The Senate has since passed a bill that includes an “Education Stabilization Fund” for states, K-12 districts, colleges, and universities. It is expected to be signed by the President within the next few days. But the work continues, and we will continue to advocate for funding, financial aid, and other resources to ensure that students in California and across the nation can attend and succeed in college.

As one of the state’s leading racial equity advocates in higher education, we want to ensure vulnerable students do not fall off their college pathways as this crisis evolves. That is why we support policy and campus efforts that target support for vulnerable students. We urge policymakers and college leaders to: Read more

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