Decisions made by state and education leaders have the power to advance or inhibit the college success and economic mobility of learners in California impacted by poverty, particularly those who identify as Black or Latinx. Increasingly the average student pursuing a postsecondary education in California is a person of color, the first in their family to attend college, and attends multiple institutions on their educational journey. Our segmented higher education system is not structured to support the success of these students, impeding retention, lengthening time to degree, and resulting in persistent equity gaps in access, completion, and transition into workforce.

California’s current and prospective learners are the engine of our state’s future—their success is essential for our economic recovery, building shared prosperity, addressing major challenges successfully, and advancing civil rights. Higher education must be centered as one of California’s top policy priorities, especially as leaders work to forge a path toward economic and social recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

We focus on policy-based opportunities to:

  • Develop and strengthen advocacy networks in the higher education policy ecosystem that can collectively advance equity- and student-centered policy change and implementation.
  • Incentivize collaboration and integration among California’s higher education segments to smooth the pathways that students travel on their way to completing their postsecondary education.
  • Simplify and expand the financial supports and other benefits available to students impacted by poverty that allow them to focus on their education and achieve their postsecondary education dreams.
  • Prioritize closing equity gaps in college access and completion, as well as in access to aid.