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

Governor Newsom Budget Update Prioritizes Higher Education

Budget expands funding for access, student success and affordability

In his updated budget proposal, Governor Gavin Newsom maintains his commitment to fund thousands of new seats for California students, invest in proven practices that improve graduation rates, and remove barriers to college affordability. While higher than expected tax revenues increased the total higher education budget from the governor’s January proposal by an estimated $200 million,  they led to modest  financial aid investments; notably the expansion of a second year of free community college tuition through the California College Promise and rapid rehousing efforts at the University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) systems.

The governor’s updated budget maintains $10 million to establish a strong educational data system from pre-K to K-12 to college and the workforce. Now is the time for the Governor to exert his leadership in creating a statewide higher education coordinating body that is inclusive of civil rights and business communities. The coordinating body can set an ambitious North Star goal for statewide college attainment and regularly monitor progress towards meeting the state’s workforce and economic demands while holding our colleges and universities accountable for improvement and the closing of persistent racial/ethnic gaps.

“In 2018, Governor Newsom (then Lieutenant Governor) shared his vision for higher education during our gubernatorial forum and he is making good on many promises– including establishing a data system and expanding seats at UC and CSU. However, a wholesale reimagining of financial aid that is simplified, reflects the true cost of college and meets the needs of low-income students must be top of mind for the governor along with a coordinating body that can ensure his investments lead to improved student outcomes,” said Jessie Ryan, Executive Vice President of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Key Higher Education Budget Highlights:

Longitudinal Data System

  • No change from January proposal. $10 million one-time allocation to plan, develop, and implement a longitudinal data system to connect student information from early education through the workforce… Read more.

More Black Californians are Graduating High School and Going to College, but State’s Colleges and Universities are Failing to Graduate Many of Them

Two-thirds of Black adults have gone to college but only half left with a degree

Los Angeles, CA – Today, The Campaign for College Opportunity released “The State of Higher Education for Black Californians,” a landmark report that reveals progress the state is making in better preparing Black students for college even while major inequities in college access and completion persist at our community colleges and universities.

California is home to 2.2 million Black residents and has long benefited from significant contributions by Black Californians who have made the state more equitable, prosperous, and entrepreneurial. However, growing racial equity gaps in education mean that too many talented Black students do not earn the degrees and credentials they need to be upwardly mobile and that the state needs for its economy.

The good news is that a record number of Black 19-year-olds – nearly 90 percent – have a high school diploma, more Black students are prepared for college, and many more are enrolling in college than in years past. There are currently over 204,000 Black undergraduate students in California, the majority (84 percent) of whom are enrolled in California’s public colleges or universities. Two-thirds of Black adults have gone to college and for Black students who attend the University of California (UC), 75% will graduate in six years…Read more.

Governor Newsom Prioritizes Higher Education in First Budget Proposal

The new Governor proposes a historic $1.4 billion increase over last year’s budget with key investments in college access, success, and affordability.

In his first budget proposal, Governor Gavin Newsom demonstrates that he clearly understands the value of a college education in helping to break the cycle of poverty, providing life-long opportunity, and creating a strong economy. Budget investments for thousands of new seats for California students, proven practices that improve graduation rates, and college affordability are the first steps toward the bold new vision and action California needs in higher education.

Understanding that free community college is just one tool to address the affordability challenges facing today’s students, Governor Newsom rightly proposes over $150 million to address hunger, housing, and the needs of student parents at our community colleges and public universities.

We applaud the governor for giving a clear directive to our college and university leaders to continue to improve transfer, time to degree, student success, and to close college success gaps.

The governor has kept his campaign promise to establish a strong educational data system from pre-K to K-12 to college and the workforce. Now is the time for the governor to exercise his leadership in establishing a statewide higher education coordinating body that is inclusive of the civil rights and business communities, that can set an ambitious North Star goal for statewide college attainment, that regularly monitors progress, and holds our colleges and universities accountable for delivering on the foundation the governor is laying in his budget proposal.

“The governor is proposing significant investments in expanding college access, improving college affordability, supporting undocumented students, and requiring our college campuses to improve transfer, time to degree, and close gaps for underserved students – that is a win for our students and our economy,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity…read more.

Historic Number of Latinx in California Graduating High School and Going to College but State’s Colleges and Universities Continue to Produce Too Few Latinx College Grads, Threatening Future Economic Stability Report Finds

As California’s biggest, and growing racial/ethnic group, the success of Latinx students is critical to meeting future workforce demands

Los Angeles, CA – Today, the Campaign for College Opportunity released the 2018 “State of Higher Education for Latinx in California” report, which documents some of the progress California has made in providing college opportunity to its Latinx students, as well as the gaps in college attainment, access and completion allowed to persist by the state’s colleges and universities. As the largest – and growing- student population in the state, if California fails to close the college attainment gap between Latinx and White students there will be grave consequences for the state’s economic standing as the fifth largest economy in the world.

Over 50% of California’s K-12 students are Latinx and a record number of Latinx students are graduating from high school, passing the courses required for university admission and going to college. In fact, 1.3 million Latinx students are enrolled in college today which is over half a million more Latinx college students compared to the year 2000. College graduation rates are also on the rise and while these are all promising trends, there is also troubling news.

Despite representing 40% of California’s total population, Latinx still have the lowest proportion of college degree earners and the highest proportion of people who have not graduated from high school. High schools graduate Latinx students at a lower percentage and do not provide equitable access to the classes needed for college admission to Latinx students compared to other races. And, colleges and universities have allowed the gap in completion between Latinx and White students to rise instead of close.

The good news for California:

  • California is graduating more Latinx students from high school. 86% of Latinx 19 year-olds have a high school diploma or equivalent.
  • Latinx transfer to California State University (CSU) campuses grew 10 percentage points between Fall 2010 (57%) and Fall 2016 (67%), thanks to the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT).
  • Time to degree has decreased for Latinx students at University of California (UC) campuses. Only 38 percent of Latinx who entered the UC in fall of 2000 graduated within four years compared to 49% of the class who entered in 2010 – an 11 percent point improvement.
  • The gap between White students’ and Latinx students’ completion rates at California Community Colleges and graduation rates for transfer students within four years of enrolling at CSU has narrowed over time.

The bad news:

  • Only 18% of Latinx adults have a college degree compared to 52% of Whites.
  • The gap in bachelor’s degree attainment between Latinx and Whites increased from 30 to 31 percentage points in the last decade.
  • California community colleges fail to support more than one half of Latinx students to attain a credential or transfer. Only two percent of Latinx transfer in two years, 31 percent in six years.
  • Differences in six-year graduation rates between White and Latinx students have increased at CSU and UC.
  • Faculty, Academic Senate bodies, college leadership, and governance are not reflective of the Latinx population or student body.

Read More

Sixteen California Colleges & Universities Lead the State in Supporting Transfer Students

Several California Community Colleges and California State Universities to be honored for their success at enrolling and graduating Associate Degree for Transfer earners

Today, the Campaign for College Opportunity announced that they will honor twelve California Community Colleges and four California State University (CSU) campuses for significantly increasing the number of students earning an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT), enrolling those students at a CSU with junior status and graduating ADT earners with a bachelor’s degree.

Transfer from the community college to a four-year university is described as bureaucratic, inconsistent, and confusing, where students must parse through a system with varied information and requirements for each campus, according to research and student testimonies.

Though transfer is often thought of as a two-year process, only 4 percent of California Community College students transfer after two years, 25 percent after four years and 38 percent after six years.

“Transfer is often a maze of barriers that delay far too many students from earning their degrees,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “The Associate Degree for Transfer cuts through the maze to offer a more streamlined transfer process.”

In 2010, with then-Senator Alex Padilla, the Campaign for College Opportunity sponsored historic transfer reform legislation that created a clear pathway for students to earn an associate degree and guaranteed admission as juniors to the CSU system. The ADT insured that students would transfer without spending excess units, time, and, in turn, money.

To date, more than 100,000 students have earned an ADT, and of those that enrolled in the CSU, they earned their bachelor’s degree almost twice as fast as other transfer students.

The following sixteen colleges and universities will be celebrated as 2018 Champions of Higher Education for Excellence in Transfer on December 4th in Los Angeles:

Read More

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

“Our California” campaign calls for a statewide attainment goal, closing racial equity gaps, and a plan for producing the 1.65 million additional degrees the state needs by 2030

Los Angeles, CA – A broad-based coalition led by The Campaign for College Opportunity launched the “Our California” campaign elevating the critical role that California’s higher education system will play in shaping the state’s economic future and calling on the next governor to develop a plan for improving college access and success. Over the next 12 years, California will need 60 percent of adults to have some college credential in order to meet growing workforce demands for college educated workers, a feat that can only be accomplished if California’s next governor commits to a statewide college attainment goal and creates the necessary plan and investments to meet that goal.

The Campaign for College Opportunity, and its coalition partners, underscore the need to adopt a 60 percent college attainment goal and to close persistent racial equity gaps in college opportunity by 2030.

“California’s candidates for governor are rightfully concerned about the economic future of the state. The best insurance we have for a brighter tomorrow is a college education for more Californians. Together with our coalition we have given the next governor an attainment and racial equity goal and a blueprint to get us there,” said Michele Siqueiros, President of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “We urge him to adopt these goals and take the necessary steps to ensure that we reach them. We won’t rest until every child in California has the ability to access and succeed in college. Our California and state’s economy depends on it.”

The new 2018 California Higher Education Report Card was released as part of the “Our California” campaign, which provides a snapshot of the progress the state is making towards reaching 60 percent attainment by 2030 and closing racial equity gaps. The report card measures the state’s progress across four critical indicators – college preparation, access, completion, and affordability – that impact the state’s ability to meet the attainment goal.

  • California receives a B+ when it comes to fully preparing high school students for college. This takes into account high school graduation rates and completion rates of the A-G curriculum with a C or better.
  • California receives a D with regards to the number of Californians going to college. This measures both the percentage of recent high school graduates as well as workforce adults that are enrolling in college
  • California receives a C on college completion, which measures the rate at which students who enroll in college successfully complete a program of study.
  • California receives a C in its ability to keep college affordable for California families. This measures takes into account the real cost burden that low-income and middle-income must take on to send their children to California’s public colleges and universities.

Overall, the state receives a C (2.07) on the progress it is making towards reaching a 60 percent attainment goal by 2030. Read More


Public Colleges and Universities in CA receive over $1.3 billion boost
New Community College Funding Formula puts Historic Focus on Student Success

The Governor and Legislature are to be commended for passing an extraordinary higher education budget that puts students first. This budget, which boasts over $1.3 billion on higher education over last year, adds more than 4,000 spots for students at our public universities while ensuring the way we invest in community colleges values student success.

Thanks to the efforts of over thirty prominent civil rights, education, student, community and business groups coming together, Governor Brown and lawmakers answered the urgent call to do better by students by adopting a historic Student Success Funding Formula for California Community Colleges. Under this new equity-centered funding model, colleges will now be funded not only based on how many students they enroll, but also provided additional funding to support low-income students, and funding to reward progress for student completion. Specifically:

  • 70% of funding will be based on enrollment (how colleges are currently funded);
  • 20% of funding will be based on the number of low-income students a college serves;
  • 10% of funding will be based on successful student outcomes, including whether students transfer, earn an Associate Degree for Transfer, or earn a certificate or other degree. Extra points are earned for any of these successes for low-income students;
  • The hold harmless provision ensures no community college campus would receive less money than it did under the 2017-18 formula. Colleges will have a three-year transition period to allow for thoughtful implementation, including transitioning from a 70-20-10 distribution model in the first year to a 60-20-20 distribution model by the third year. They will also be provided funding increases during the transition years.

“Our state leaders have acted with urgency to improve student success in the past few years from reforming transfer to remedial education and now a funding formula that values student success. The combination of these bold investments and actions is a game-changer for our students who go to college with the hope and expectation of earning a degree, certificate, or transferring to a 4-year university,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Alexa Victoriano, a former Student Trustee of the Los Angeles Community College District said, “I don’t want to go to college just to explore. As a first-generation college student, I want to go to college to earn a degree, secure a good paying job, and do my part to help strengthen the economy. But I can’t do this alone.”

“Alexa, today the Governor and Legislature are standing with you. Their willingness to be bold and act with urgency will benefit generations to come and we stand firm to ensure the promise of today’s budget is realized,” concluded Siqueiros. Read more

Statement on Governor Brown’s May Revise to Funding Formula Proposal

Stronger funding formula proposal emerges that focuses on high needs students and key milestones

 “It’s clear that the Governor and Chancellor Oakley took to heart what students, civil rights and business leaders across the state care about when it comes to a funding formula that prioritizes student success and equity. As revised, this new funding formula proposal has the opportunity to be a game-changer for students who don’t just want a seat in our colleges but want the credential that opens up their future,” said Michele Siqueiros, president of the Campaign for College Opportunity. “Our state leaders have acted with urgency to improve student success in the past few years from reforming transfer to remedial education and now, with the promise of a funding formula that puts success on par with access, we cannot slow down!”

Over thirty prominent social justice, civil rights, business, and student organizations joined the Campaign for College Opportunity to press the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the Governor and Legislature to ensure any new funding formula addresses the needs of vulnerable populations, recognized important milestones in a students’ progression toward a degree, and provides additional incentives for colleges to promote the success of low-income students.

Governor Brown’s ambitious proposal to revise the California Community College funding formula has been strengthened significantly in his May Revise and now includes key considerations for the enrollment of low-income and undocumented students, progression milestones, and additional dollars toward the success of low-income students.

Download the Campaign’s Press Statement