Access Archives - The Campaign for College Opportunity

If Not Now, When? The Time for a Student-Centered Funding Formula is Now

The Governor’s plan to transform the current community college funding model to a student-centered formula, for the first time in contemporary history of California’s community colleges, recognizes a reality West Hills has endured for nearly 86 years: rural districts serving large populations of disadvantaged students require more resources to help them to the completion finish line. At our rural Central Valley colleges in Coalinga, Lemoore, and Firebaugh, we take 100% of everybody in our 3,500 square mile district, where nearly 80% of our population lives at or below the poverty line, unemployment is high, and skills attainment is low.

A student-centered funding formula is the long overdue solution for rural districts that incur considerably more expenses to assist our most vulnerable students in reaching the finish line. The current funding formula is based largely on the number of full-time equivalent students enrolled – with no explicit fiscal incentives for colleges to support low-income populations and support their success. As an example, the regional Strong Workforce program was designed to do ‘more and better Career and Technical Education (CTE)’. Our share, based on enrollment, was up to five times less than neighboring urban districts. How can I grow CTE programs when I receive one-fifth the allocation provided to large colleges? How am I to respond to identified needs of business and industry with specialized, high-cost workforce training programs, let alone drive regional economies to enhance rural economic development initiatives? Why do we value selectivity over social mobility?

Although our colleges have done admirable work providing broad access, too few students who enter the system ultimately achieve their educational goals. Half of students fail to complete a certificate or degree after six years, with the rates for those historically underrepresented in higher education – especially low-income students and students of color – even more concerning and with gaps across regions of the state. The Central Valley is the epicenter of that conversation, which is very frustrating for our district because we have unwavering confidence that our students can achieve their goals if ample resources and services are in place to ensure that outcome. And, it’s not that our disadvantaged students cannot achieve their educational attainment goal; I know our students can if we recognize to do so requires more resources than realized with current funding models. I have often said the enrollment-based funding formula is why poor communities stay poor.

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We Could Not Have Done It Without You

Thank you Index Cards

By Stacey Holderbach, Development & Administrative Manager at the Campaign for College Opportunity

In this season of thanks, we would like to share our deep gratitude to the foundations, corporations, organizations, and individuals who make our work possible. Their commitment and investment in the Campaign for College Opportunity allows us to ensure that the promise of a college education is available to this generation and future generations of California students.

Our supporters have many worthy causes to which they can invest, but year after year, they affirm their commitment to college access, completion, affordability and racial equity by investing in us.

Thanks to our funders’ investments, this year we were able to:

  • Share compelling student stories through our reports and presentations
  • Issue our first-ever California Higher Education Report Card, which measures California’s progress toward producing enough college graduates to meet our state’s economic needs by 2025
  • Publish The Transfer Maze: The High Cost to Students and the State, which highlights the critical role transfer plays in producing college graduates and providing economic opportunity, as well as the barriers students who wish to transfer still face in completing their education goals
  • Establish a coalition of leaders from higher education, philanthropy, and community organizations, and state and local policymakers to develop a proactive effort to protect California’s DACA and undocumented students
  • Advocate for funding and policies that accelerate students toward college completion by improving placement, transfer, and affordability.
  • Honor the exemplary leadership of the people and institutions crucial to ensuring student success, and highlighting these institutions as examples for best practices to inspire other colleges and universities

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THE “TAX CUTS AND JOBS ACT” IS DETRIMENTAL TO CALIFORNIA AND ITS STUDENTS

Yesterday, the United States House of Representatives voted by a 227-205 margin to pass H.R. 1, the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,” authored by Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX), which impacts key tax provisions that make college more accessible and affordable. At a time when states like California face major shortfalls of college-educated workers, this bill would undermine our ability to prepare students for a 21st-century economy. California currently faces a projected shortfall of 1.7 million college credentials needed to meet workforce demands by 2025. While there are many means through which we can better utilize federal tax policy to support college completion, the House’s tax bill is likely to make higher education more expensive and further out of reach for many hard-working students and their families.

Three ways in which the House “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” does not serve the interest of California or its students:

  • In streamlining the three existing higher education tax credits into the American Opportunity Tax Credit, the House’s tax proposal would simultaneously eliminate $17.5 billion in taxpayer support for higher education. While consolidating the currently available education tax benefits could better support and target students in need, the House bill does neither. Any taxpayer investment on higher education should be preserved within programs that support college access and affordability, rather than be redirected towards other uses.
  • Elimination of the state and local tax deduction on federal income taxes would make less revenue available for California and further contribute to the budgetary pressures that have led to declining state funding for the UC and CSU. Federal tax policy should not make it more difficult for states to support higher education and jeopardize our ability to enroll more students. Ten years since the onset of the Great Recession and despite recent reinvestment, we have still not yet reached 2008 levels of state funding for the California State University and University of California. Insufficient state support for public higher education has led to reduced capacity and increasing selectivity while we graduate record numbers of college-eligible high school students, as well as higher tuition rates for those that are admitted. Read more.

Changing the Dialogue: How We Can Push Low-Income, Top Performing Students into Competitive Colleges

(Ariana and I posing with her University of California, Irvine acceptance letter-a proud and exciting moment for both of us!)

(Ariana and I posing with her University of California, Irvine acceptance letter–a proud and exciting moment for both of us!)

By: Alex Serna, Program Director, Breakthrough San Juan Capistrano

It was as if we were negotiating a nuclear treaty and for the last 4 years she worked assiduously to someday realize her dreams of becoming the first in her family to attend college. Then, that someday arrived. We sat and discussed her college list. The air was still as the crisp, cool fall ambient enveloped our conversation leading to a moment that became the turning point in her life. For many high-achieving, low-income students “undermatch” is a real phenomenon, one that Brookings defines as, “students attending less challenging colleges than their academic credentials would allow them to.” The New York Times credits this trend with widening economic inequality and low levels of mobility. These academically promising students, “wind up in community college or mediocre four-year schools”, with less financial, academic and social support leading to high rates of attrition (NPR). But, “undermatch” can either be realized or be overcome with dialogue. However, let me be clear; we are not talking about simple dialogue-but a relentless, aspirational dialogue focused on acknowledging the student’s strengths rather than their weaknesses.  Read More

Supporting College Student Access and Success: Making Sure Hard Work Pays Off

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By: Audrey Dow, Senior Vice President, The Campaign for College Opportunity

This blog is an excerpt from the panel on “Supporting College Student Access and Success” from the American Educational Research Association conference on January 17, 2017. Our Senior Vice President, Audrey Dow, gave remarks on policy opportunities that could help address college student access and success. Please click the video above to watch the entire remarks.

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A Gift for all of California’s Students

giving-season

By: Aileen Zhong, Policy & Programs Associate

Every year we are faced with a difficult task, to find the perfect gift for our students during the holiday season. And while you might wonder whether the student in your life really needs that extra pair of shoes or the latest iPhone you won’t have to wonder whether a gift from our list is necessary. This season the Campaign for College Opportunity wants to urge you to consider giving your student something that they, their peers and all California students could benefit from for years to come. Give your support to  improving access and completion to our state’s higher education system by getting involved with the Campaign in 2017 or by making a donation today!

In just a few short years, our state will experience a huge shortage of educated workers needed to meet California’s workforce demands. Access to our public colleges and universities has been constrained, selectivity has increased, and all the while the value of a college degree is more important than ever. To address these issues, we propose six ways you can get involved and give California students the gift of equal opportunity! Our list may not fit in a box, but it’s what our students need and deserve – so let’s get to work!  Read More

Press Statement: Statement on the Introduction of SB 1050 (de Leon)

Increasing the number of California K-12 students eligible for the state’s public universities and ensuring seats for California students at the University of California

Today, California Senate pro Tempore Kevin de León (Los Angeles) introduced visionary legislation that ensures a student’s zip code or income status does not determine whether they are adequately prepared and get the opportunity to go to college.

Now more than ever, California needs more students to earn a bachelor’s degree – our economy demands it. By 2030, 38% of all jobs will require at least a bachelor’s degree. But if current trends persist, only 33% of adults will hold a bachelor’s degree leaving the workforce 1.1 million bachelor degree holders short. Businesses need more college educated workers and students know they need more than a high school diploma to realize their full potential and make it into the middle class.

Read the Entire Press Statement

College Admission from a College Counselor’s Perspective

John Kim BLog Photo

By: John Kim, College Counselor
Belmont High School

For the past several years, I have awaited the official release of the Los Angeles Unified School District calendar to find out when the week-long Thanksgiving break is scheduled. As an employee of the district and the father of three young daughters who are students in LAUSD district, I am eager to figure out when and where we may travel together as a family during this special time of the year. On a professional note, I also flag this week to determine how many days ahead of November 30th this vacation time is scheduled. For those of you not familiar with, or perhaps who have forgotten the importance of this date, November 30th marks the deadline for high school seniors to submit their CSU and UC applications online in the state of California. As a college counselor at Belmont High School for the past ten years, November 30th is in line with other important dates such as March 2nd, the FAFSA/Cal Grant deadline in California; May 1st, the Statement of Intent to Register deadline; Belmont’s graduation date; and July 1st, the deadline for most colleges and universities to receive students’ final official high school transcripts. Read More

Why It’s So Hard for In-State Students to Get Into a UC—and even California State School These Days

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