California is where people come from all over the world to pursue their dreams, whether in Hollywood, the Silicon Valley, or the fields of the Central and Napa valleys. Our Golden State holds the vision of possibility – invention, innovation, and advancement.

One of the most important investments our state made was in the California Master Plan for Higher Education of 1960, which created a continuum of educational opportunity for all Californians, catapulting the Golden State to become a leader in innovation and entrepreneurship with one of the largest economies in the world. Since then, California has boomed, spearheading internationally competitive industries that require advanced education. California’s population has more than doubled, becoming more racially diverse than the Master Plan could have foreseen. Our state’s industries have evolved, now requiring advanced education, technical know-how, and global savvy. The demand of these new industries will soon outgrow the supply of California’s current workforce. With the leadership of the next Governor, a new day must dawn in the Golden State to recognize and address the realities we face:

  • Our people’s standard of living is declining
  • Our talent pipeline is aging and our future workforce is not prepared
  • Our greatest asset – the diversity of our state – will hurt our future economic prosperity if enormous educational disparities continue to be ignored
  • Our state is not graduating enough people with college degrees or vocational training to meet current and projected job market demand

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In the next 12 years, California will need to produce 1.65 million more college credentials, and we are not on track to get there.

Our higher education system has not kept pace with changing workforce demands or the needs of California’s racially diverse population. Fewer than half of adults in California have a college credential but by 2030, 60% will need a college education to meet workforce demand and racial equity gaps will need to be entirely eliminated. In the next 12 years, California will need to produce 1.65 million more college credentials, and we are not on track to get there.

Our 2018 California Higher Education Report Card is a snapshot of California’s performance in college preparation, access, affordability, and completion today compared to where we need to be in 2030. The grades reflect progress toward a 60% college attainment goal and progress toward eliminating the racial equity gaps by 2030. Across all indicators, California earns merely average grades and is far from preparing the state to meet the demands of students and the workforce.

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We envision a California where all students, regardless of race, ethnicity, income or ZIP code, have the skills and education they need to be upwardly mobile, participate in the workforce and contribute to civic life. The next Governor of California must make the necessary investments and be committed to implementing bold reforms to California’s higher education systems to ensure that all students can succeed and that our state thrives.


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The Campaign for College Opportunity was proud to host a Gubernatorial Forum on Higher Education featuring Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and secure responses to On the Record from the Governor-elect


 Read On the Record: Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom on Higher Education

We also hosted a Lt. Governor Townhall on Higher Education featuring Lt. Governor-elect Eleni Kounalakis. We owe a special thank you to our co-hosts and student leaders from the University of California Student Association, the California State Student Association, and the Student Senate for California Community Colleges, who asked each candidate pertinent questions on college affordability, access, racial equity, faculty diversity, and improving pathways from community colleges to universities.

Former Ambassador Eleni Kounalakis


The Campaign for College Opportunity is recognized as a public charity under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and, as a result, does not endorse or oppose any candidate for elected public office.



Press Release: New Campaign Urges California’s Next Governor to Champion Bold Vision for Higher Education in the State

States Attempt Closing Racial Gaps to Improve Graduation, Inside HigherEd

California Gets Low Marks When It Comes to College Attainment, Diverse Education

California Groups Call for 2030 Attainment Goal, Inside HigherEd

Governing Board Endorses Campaign for College Opportunity’s Blueprint for Higher Education, Southwestern College News Center