affordability Archives - The Campaign for College Opportunity

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.

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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

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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California Gubernatorial Candidates Go On the Record with Higher Education Priorities

With under a month to go before California’s primary election, the Campaign for College Opportunity has released a new publication and three videos to inform voters about the leading gubernatorial candidates’ higher education priorities.

 On the Record: California’s Gubernatorial Candidates on Higher Education and three accompanying forum videos presents responses provided by John Chiang, John Chiang, and Antonio Villaraigosa to a series of questions on the major higher education issues impacting the state today.  Gubernatorial candidate John Cox was invited but unable to schedule a forum or respond to the On the Record questionnaire within the time frame allotted to all candidates.

On the Record and the three individual gubernatorial forums represent the first time this election season that the leading gubernatorial candidates have explicitly dedicated time to addressing higher education. Their engagement reflects their understanding that California voters see the economy and education as the most significant issues affecting the state.

California’s next Governor will have to address a growing shortfall of workers who possess the degrees needed to fill critical jobs. Given California’s future depends upon an educated workforce that keeps the state’s innovative edge and maintains our standing as the fifth largest economy in the world, On the Record and the three gubernatorial forum videos, are an essential resource for learning about the vision and ideas California’s next Governor has for higher education. 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

Why Thousands of Eligible Students Fail to Complete Their FAFSA

Foster-care-money-for-college-Blog

Each February, thousands of students across California will learn about obscure sounding tax terminology. Too often, whether a student can piece together enough knowhow about the tax code will determine if they learn about the help available to pay for college.

“What’s our adjusted gross income?”

“How do you count how many people are in our ‘household’?”

These are just two questions that parents and adults field from students as they start their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The FAFSA is the application required to determine eligibility for most financial aid programs that help cover college costs, ranging from student loans to Cal Grants, the state program in California that awards over $2 billion annually to help students afford college. Students in California must complete their entire FAFSA, running more than 100 questions long, before the Cal Grant deadline (March 2) to claim any state-based assistance for which they are eligible. Unfortunately, data on who does not complete the FAFSA depicts a grim reality: many of the students that stand to most benefit from college leave their money on the table, potentially incurring greater costs themselves or even worse –  not enrolling in college altogether due to the costs they face.

In 2016, The Campaign for College Opportunity set out to quantify the amount of Pell Grant funds left unused by California students, funds that would have otherwise helped low-income students pay for college. The results were staggering. We found that in 2014, more than 144,000 California high school graduates failed to complete a FAFSA, resulting in over $340 million going unclaimed and unused by eligible students. These are not funds that need to be won in the never-ending Congressional budget debates. These dollars are already allocated towards financial aid, but we have yet to make it enough of a priority to make sure they get to their end users – students. Read More

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.

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.