The State of Higher Education in California: Black Report

Black Report

In the newest report from The Campaign for College Opportunity, The State of Higher Education in California – Black Report  is being released today. California is home to the fifth largest Black population in the nation, and while the research has some good news – more Black adults today have a high school diploma and college degree than in the past there is also disheartening findings. Black high school students are still less likely to graduate from high school and when they do, less likely to have completed the college preparatory curriculum needed for admission to the University of California and California State University systems compared to other major racial/ethnic groups. Black students who do make it to college are the most likely to be placed into pre-college level coursework, the least likely to graduate from college, and the most likely to enroll in for-profit colleges – some of which have traditionally poor rates of student success and high tuition costs and student debt levels.

Inadequate high school preparation, a broken college remedial education system, and significant funding cuts to the state’s public colleges and universities all play a major role in the ability of Black students to both enroll in and complete college.

A few key findings from the report:

  • Only 23 percent of working-age Blacks in California have bachelor’s degrees, compared to 42 percent of their White counterparts.
  • One-third of Black adults aged 25-64 attended college but earned no degree.
  • Black undergraduates are underrepresented at four-year public and private, nonprofit universities and overrepresented at California Community Colleges and For-Profit colleges.
  • Only 37% of Black students earned a degree, certificate or transferred after six years from a California community college.
  • Only 37% of Black students who started at the California State University system as freshman will complete after six years.
  • At least 2/3 of Black applicants were denied admission to six of the University of California’s nine undergraduate campuses.

In addition to the recommendations listed in our report, they have highlighted the work of two San Diego State University professors who launched the Minority Male Community College Collaborative and created free assessment tools that community colleges can use to inform strategies to increase the success rates of Black students. You can access the new report, infographic, press release and the profile using the link.

Please save the date for the upcoming webinar on Thursday, June 18 at 10:30am where they will discuss the key findings of both the Latino and Black report.


Governor Brown 2014 Budget Verdict on Education

Jerry Brown

(Excerpt from the Campaign for College Opportunity)

Governor Brown has once again introduced a budget that includes significant increases for California’s public colleges and universities, proposing $1.1 billion over last year’s budget.  The Governor, however, is quite clear that new monies will come with expectations. Expectations that colleges and universities remain affordable, improve transfer, and reduce the time it takes to earn a degree or certificate.

“When Californians passed Proposition 30 in 2012, it was a statement of support for our public colleges and universities. It’s now up to us to be smart about those resources to ensure California gets the best return on its investment. Governor Brown’s budget which earmarks resources for student success does that,” said Michele Siqueiros, Executive Director of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

The big news for Community Colleges is $200 million to improve and expand student success programs and close opportunity gaps for underrepresented students. $100 million will go toward increasing orientation, assessment, placement, counseling and other education planning services. The other $100 million is to close gaps in access and achievement for underrepresented student groups. The Campaign’s recent reports on the State of Latinos and Blacks in California Higher Education document the huge need to improve success and close the huge attainment gaps that persist across our UC, CSU and community college campuses.

Arun Ramanathan, on behalf of The Education Trust—West, issued the following statement in response to Governor Brown’s January budget proposal:

“The Governor’s budget represents a renewed commitment to California’s future, its students and education system, while also learning from the difficult lessons of the last five years of budget crisis. We applaud the Governor for his investment of $10 billion in new spending for K-12 schools. We are also encouraged by his commitment to addressing the boom and bust budget cycles that have plagued California’s education system. The new influx in education funds will accelerate the implementation of Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF), closing the gap toward full implementation by more than 28%. It will also raise the stakes for the implementation of the new model at the local level and the rules that will be passed by the State Board of Education on January 16th  that will guide local district and community planning and spending decisions. As the Legislature considers the Governor’s proposal, it should also assess how to ensure that this funding is used effectively at the local level to close the opportunity and achievement gaps that impact low income students, students of color and English Learners. It should also consider whether the additional funding is sufficient to not only fully jump start LCFF implementation, but also the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS).”

To read the governors budget in it’s entirety, go HERE.

State of Blacks in Higher Education in California

state of blacks in higher ed


December 5, 2013 | Press Release: Report Finds Black College Achievement in California Stagnant and Worsening

The Campaign for College Opportunity today released a report, the second in a new series of research reports The State of Blacks in Higher Education: The Persistent Opportunity Gap, detailing the lack of significant progress in Black higher education, the need for the state’s higher education system to work better for all students and the recommendations to address this gap. The report finds that young Blacks are less educated than previous generations, the gap between Blacks and Whites in California earning a bachelor’s degree or higher has only narrowed by one percentage point in the past decade, and first time Black freshmen and transfer students have the lowest completion rates at all three higher education systems in California – the CSU, UC and California Community Colleges. The state of educational attainment for Blacks in California raises questions about the way our higher education system is organized and whether it equally serves all groups.

California is home to the fifth largest number of Blacks in the nation. In the latest from its new series on the State of Higher Education in California, The Campaign for College Opportunity has found that gaps between Blacks and other ethnic groups in college-going and attainment have remained virtually unchanged for more than a decade, and in some cases, has worsened.

From the start, Black students have limited chances to enroll in college. With the lowest high school graduation rates, and the second-lowest rates of completing the required college preparatory curriculum for the state’s four-year universities, Black students face steep hurdles to reaching their college and career dreams, even though a recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California found that more than half of Black respondents believe that a college education is “necessary for a person to be successful in today’s work world.”

The State of Blacks in Higher Education in California: The Persistent Opportunity Gap identifies the following key findings:

  • Blacks are slightly overrepresented at California’s community colleges and private for-profit colleges, while being underrepresented at the California State University (CSU) and University of California (UC) systems.
  • In 2012, more Black students in California were enrolled in private, for-profit colleges than in the CSU and UC combined. This trend is troubling because graduation rates range from very low to very high across for-profit colleges and students often incur significant debt to attend these schools.
  • In the last decade, Black enrollment at CSU and UC has remained flat, underscoring the impact the elimination of affirmative action has had on Black students. Today, Black students experience the lowest admission rates to the UC of any racial/ethnic group. In fact, prior to the elimination of affirmative action, 75 percent of Black applicants to the UC were admitted in 1994 compared to 58 percent in 2010.
  • Black students are the most likely to gain some college experience without earning a college degree.
  • Across all three public sectors of higher education— the California Community Colleges, California State University, and University of California—Blacks have the lowest completion rates for both first-time freshmen and transfer students.
  • A smaller share of today’s California Black young adult population (25 to 34 years of age) holds postsecondary degrees than that of Blacks between the ages of 35 and 64.



1. Create a statewide plan for higher education

2. Expand college knowledge

3. Invest in services students need to succeed

4. Fund colleges for both enrollment and success

5. Strengthen financial support options for students

6. Encourage colleges and universities to reach out and re- enroll students who are close to completing a degree

The Campaign for College Opportunity is a broad-based, bipartisan coalition, including business, education and labor leaders that is dedicated to ensuring the next generation of Californians has the opportunity to go to college and succeed. The Campaign works to create an environment of change and lead the state toward effective policy solutions. It is focused upon substantially increasing the number of students attending two- and four-year colleges in California so that we can produce the one million additional college graduates that our state needs.

For more information, visit:



Tax Dollars Invested In Higher Ed Pay Off In Billions in Revenue


California’s Economic Payoff: Investing in College Access & Completion is new statewide report conducted by researchers at the Institute for the Study of Societal Issues at the University of California, Berkeley. It was commissioned by The Campaign for College Opportunity and co-released with the California Civil Rights Coalition and the California Chamber of Commerce. The report answers two questions: What are the benefits of investing in higher education? And, is it worth it for Californians?

This study concludes that the benefits of higher education extend well beyond the direct payoff for students and include substantial gains to the state, and it is indeed worth the investment. California´s higher education investments pay off for all of California, not only for the individuals who receive a college education through increased lifetime earnings, but for the state in increased tax revenue and reduced costs for social welfare programs and incarceration.

 Key Findings for California’s Return on Investment:

  • For every dollar California invests in public higher education, it will receive a net return on investment of $4.50. That’s a 450% return on investment.
  • The return is double for those who complete college–$4.80–than for those who enter but don’t obtain a degree–$2.40.
  • Past graduates of UC and CSU return $12 billion annually, well above the current general fund expenditures for the UC, CSU and California Community College systems combined.
  • Californians with a college degree will earn $1,340,000 more in their lifetime than their peers with only a high school diploma.
  • By entering and completing college, the average Californian will spend 4 years less in poverty, reducing the expected number of years they receive cash aid by more than 2 years.

“College completion represents far and away the best investment return for both individuals and the state. California’s elected officials would be remiss not to factor in these significant returns when making tough budget decisions.”

– Michele Siqueiros, Executive Director, Campaign for College Opportunity

“This report demonstrates the strong investment value of the state’s expenditures on higher education. California’s leaders must ensure adequate funding of our colleges and universities to help secure our economic future.”

– Allan Zaremberg, President, California Chamber of Commerce       

“This further documents the need to look at public higher education access and completion, as well as investments in the systems, as civil rights issues.  Completing higher education gives individuals from all ethnic backgrounds and socio-economic status equal opportunity.”

Claudia Pena, Statewide Director, California Civil Rights Coalition 

 Check out the full report HERE.

Valley High School Ready for National GEAR UP Day

Valley High School is finishing preparations for their second annual National GEAR UP Day celebration to be held on September 30. Activities include:

  • Business and Community Leaders Breakfast starting at 8:00 am.
  • Campus tours and classroom visits
  • Lunch-time Student activities and performances
  • An opportunity to network with business and community leaders, families, and educators.

National GEAR UP Day is a celebration of transformative work of California GEAR UP – Valley High School Collaboration that includes dramatic gains in the statewide API, the opening of a Family Center, distribution of 100 Education Trust Awards, the implementation of a Leadership Skills Initiative, as well as on-going school-wide academic support.

Confirmed attendees include:

For information on this event or to attend, please contact Deisy

Continue to follow events across the state as we cover National GEAR UP Day across California.

‘Save Me A Spot In College’ Winners Move The Crowd

Winners were announced for the annual ‘Save Me A Spot In College‘ contest sponsored by The Campaign for College Opportunity. 6th to 12th grade contestants can enter videos, essays, or posters in response to the following prompts:

(1) Tell California leaders why you and your peers are One in a Million, and (2) Why should California leaders save you and your peers a spot in college?

This year, California GEAR UP Director Shelley Davis was a  judge in the contest, and shared one of the essay entries that was particularly moving. Shelley believes all students deserve access to an excellent education to give students a chance at a college education. “This powerful student voice renewed my resolve to ensure opportunity for ALL students”.

Written by 9th grader Rachel Johnson at Castro Valley High School who was nominated for the grand prize:

Have you ever heard the echo of a gunshot? Did you ever see a warm body hit the cold ground, life pouring out red on the pavement? Were you ever scared to walk your city streets because you’re blue or red?  Do the sirens act as your lullaby, singing you to sleep as you cry? How could we escape this never-ending nightmare; will we ever be given the chance?

Most of my peers would say no; we won’t have the chance or the choice. They always look for someone to blame; believing we don’t have a voice. Either be blue, red, or dead. It’s no longer a black and white world with just shades of gray.  It is a world of colors, and colors can kill.  Wear the wrong color and a passing car might put you on the sidewalk forever.  I want you to help me show my peers that the paths of blue and red aren’t our only options. There is the path of life and knowledge that is obtainable only through college.

Through college we can gain knowledge and wisdom. We can be the movers of mountains and sustainers of mankind. And if we find the mountain unmovable, then maybe with an education we can learn to tunnel through the mountain to the other side where colors are a thing to be admired and cherished for their differences, and not the cause for hate and blood-shed.  Maybe through college, we can learn and then teach that we are not just red or blue, or black or white.  Color should not define us; color should heighten our appreciation for each other. College can be the canvas that helps define us. Maybe red can shape industry and yellow can revitalize the economy; blue can feed the hungry and green can find clean fuel sources.  But in reality, all this can only happen when all our colors work together. And college is the place where this rainbow of colors can rise from the mist and coalesce into the color of purpose.

We can do these things because we are the world’s future, but only if we are blessed with a college education.  What we become depends not only on us, but on your commitment to us.  Will you save us a spot?

To view the other contest winners and their entries, please visit the contest site here.

This year California GEAR UP gave 288 Trust Awards to middle grades students across California and 50 awards at Valley High School in Sacramento with the expectation that offering a monetary incentive to students will stimulate the entire family and school community to support his or her preparation for college.

GEAR UP Students Support Speaker Perez at Press Conference

California GEAR UP Students and staff, University of California President Mark Yudof and California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott joined Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez and Assembly Higher Education Committee Chair Marty Block at a State Capitol press conference on June 3 to voice their support for higher education provisions in the Assembly Democrats’ California Jobs Budget. Speaker Perez spoke about how important higher education programs are to the state in addressing economic and employment woes.

“Educational opportunity is central to creating the kind of quality, high-paying jobs that will lead California back to a strong and lasting economic recovery,” Pérez said. “This is a budget plan that reflects the values of California by protecting education and preserving the pathway to higher education.”

Students from Valley High School, a California GEAR UP school, were there to support the speaker and the higher education provisions in the California Jobs Budget.

Also in attendance was Ben Quillian, Executive, Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer of the California State University; Roberto Torres, Vice President of the California State Students Association; Reid Milburn, President of the Student Senate of the California Community Colleges; Victor Sanchez, President of the University of California Students Association; Diana Fuentes-Michel, Executive Director of the California Student Aid Commission; Karen Humphrey, Executive Director of the California Postsecondary Education Commission; Jonathan Brown, President of the Association of Independent California Colleges & Universities; Erica Romero, Western States Director for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities; Michele Siqueiros, Executive Director of the Campaign for College Opportunity.

Special thanks to Max Espinoza from the Speakers office and Michele Siqueiros and Jessie Ryan from the Campaign for College Opportunity for taking time to speak with Valley GEAR UP students after the press conference.

To see video or read the transcript from the press conference, please visit Speaker Perez’ site here.

“I’m One in a Million” Scholarship Contest


As we posted here, California needs 1,000,000 additional college graduates by the year 2025 in order to meet our state’s workforce needs. Each student who successfully completes college is “one in a million.” Sponsored by the Campaign for College Opportunity, the contest is for all currently enrolled college students. Here is how you can go for it:

Tell California leaders why you and your peers are one in a million and why they should support college opportunity to help you reach your college dream.

A minimum of 20 scholarships ranging from $500 to $1,000 will be awarded throughout California.

Contest Deadline: June 30, 2010

Contest Categories: You may submit one entry per category.


Submit 400 words (or less) in any written format (essay, letter, poem, story, etc.)


Create an 11″ by 14″ poster. Answer the contest question by drawing, painting, computer graphics,
or other means of illustrating your message. Please do not use 3D materials.


Submit a 30-second (or less) TV ad on CD or DVD format only. You may enter this category as an individual or group (up to 4 students). The award will be split among all contributors.

How do I enter?

All currently enrolled college students in California, including AB 540 students, are eligible to enter.

All written word entries must be submitted here.

To enter the Poster or TV Ad category, fill out an entry form here.  Print out the completed form and mail with the entry to:  College Contest Entry | 900 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 924 | Los Angeles, CA 90017.

Submissions without an attached Entry Form will not be considered.

What if I have questions?

Please contact Maria Luisa at 800-459-9586 or with any questions regarding the contest.

To submit an application, please visit the Campaign for College Opportunity site here.