Higher Ed Archives - The Campaign for College Opportunity

Why Thousands of Eligible Students Fail to Complete Their FAFSA

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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

And the Higher Education Grammy Goes to…

Champions SealSecretary of State Alex Padilla called the Campaign for College Opportunity’s Champions of Higher Education award “the equivalent of a Grammy, the equivalent of an Oscar, and maybe even the equivalent of a World Series ring all rolled into one.”

While the Recording Academy hands out Grammys for Best New Artist, Album of the Year and Song of the Year, we awarded Champions of Higher Education awards for Excellence in Transfer, our higher education version of the Grammys, as Secretary Padilla calls it.

Specifically, these “Grammys” are awarded to California Community Colleges and California State Universities (CSU) that have supported students through the Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT), a streamlined transfer pathway that offers guaranteed admission with junior standing at the CSU. The goal of the Associate Degree for Transfer pathway is to increase the number of students transferring to 4-year universities by streamlining the transfer process. Our research shows that 48% of students with an ADT graduate from the California State University within two years with their bachelor’s degree compared to only 27% of traditional transfer students. And, since its inception in 2010, more than 69,000 students have earned an Associate Degree for Transfer.

The California Community Colleges and California State Universities that received the awards produced the largest number of students earning Associate Degrees for Transfer and have demonstrated significant growth in students earning the degree year over year.

Here are the California Community College Grammy categories and winners: Read More

“Transfer maze” awaits California community college students, advocacy group says

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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

Report: More students earning community college transfer degrees, but few moving on to CSU

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Plan Would Help More Cal State Students To Graduate In 4 Years 

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College Admission from a College Counselor’s Perspective

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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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