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Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact
Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact
Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact
Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact
Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact
Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact
Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact
Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact
Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact
Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact
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Foundation Blueprint: Broadening our approach and expanding our impact

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In 2012, the College Access Foundation of California announced an expansion of its grantmaking strategy to address the growing financial needs of California’s low-income student population. This new …

In 2012, the College Access Foundation of California announced an expansion of its grantmaking strategy to address the growing financial needs of California’s low-income student population. This new blueprint provides additional details about the Foundation’s efforts to reach more students through a broader grantmaking strategy.

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  • 1. Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact { COLLEGE ACCESS FOUNDATION of CALIFORNIA Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact 1
  • 2. A Message from the President At the College Access Foundation of California, we focus on helping low-income students pursue and complete a college education. Between 2005 and 2011, the Foundation awarded over $71 million in grants to college access organizations across the state, supporting over 30,000 scholarships for college students with financial need. During that time, we used scholarships as our primary tool for promoting enrollment and graduation for students from low-income families and communities. For many, scholarships made the difference between going to college or not, or the difference between attending a four-year university or a community college. Most of our scholarship recipients came from low-performing high schools with minimal college preparation and advising. Over 80 percent of our scholarship recipients were the first in their families to go to college. Approximately three-quarters of these students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities. Of the students who entered college in 2008, over 80 percent were still in college two years later. We take great pride in helping these students go to college. But despite the success, we also understand that our focus on scholarships has its limitations. Compared to public and institutional aid, our Foundation scholarships only cover a fraction of the cost of college. Moreover, given the Foundation’s resources, we can only offer scholarships to a small portion of the state’s growing low-income student population. { The Foundation has an important opportunity—and responsibility—to maximize its impact and help more students realize a college education. California faces a widening college achievement gap at a time when higher education is increasingly important to securing the state’s economic future. In the face of this challenge, the Foundation has an important opportunity—and responsibility—to maximize its impact and help more students realize a college education. The following is an overview of the Foundation’s new strategic direction. It details how we plan to address the growing financial needs California’s low-income students currently face. We look forward to working with our grantee partners, our colleagues and our friends as we implement this new strategy, and we welcome your feedback and ideas as we move forward to help more students across the state. Julia I. Lopez President and CEO, College Access Foundation of California Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact 2
  • 3. Evolving to Meet California’s Challenges { As the largest economy in the United States, and the ninth largest economy in the world, California is a driving force behind the nation’s economic engine. But despite gains in recent decades, California is not keeping up with the growing educational demands of its economy. Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact 3
  • 4. Mirroring trends across the country, California’s economy increasingly depends on a highly-educated workforce with at least some college education. This rising demand coincides with a growing gap in college enrollment and completion across the state. Today, California ranks 40th in the nation in the percentage of high school graduates who go directly to college.1 It ranks 46th in the percentage of the state’s college-age population earning bachelor’s degrees.2 Improving college achievement is critical to preserving our economic future. But despite the need for more college graduates, California’s low-income students often lack the information and guidance they need to overcome the academic, cultural and financial obstacles they face on their path to college success. Today, half of California’s high school students are from low-income families, and they increasingly identify college affordability among their top concerns. Most of these students attend high schools that lack access to college and financial aid advising, leaving many with the perception that college is beyond their reach. Absent clear guidance and information about publicly available financial aid such as Pell Grants, Cal Grants, and Board of Governors Fee Waivers, many students either do not apply for aid, or they fail to maximize the financial aid awards for which they would qualify.3 California’s Growing Enrollment & Completion Gap 40th in the nation in the percentage of high school graduates who go directly to college 46th in percentage of its college-age population earning bachelor’s degrees During the 2009-2010 academic year for example, hundreds of thousands of eligible California Community College students did not apply for Pell Grants, leaving up to $500 million in estimated financial aid unclaimed.4 These grants could have helped students pay for tuition and fees, textbooks, housing, food, and transportation. Students who fail to maximize their financial aid have difficulty paying for school and may unduly increase their student debt burden. They are less likely to earn a degree or transfer to a four-year institution. { We are eager to engage our grantee partners in new efforts that reach beyond our scholarship students and support more low-income populations across California. In addition to financial aid, low-income college students—especially students who are the first in the family to go to school—often lack the support and the know-how they need to navigate the transition from high school to college. As a result, these students graduate at lower rates than their peers. Providing them with the support and information they need to access campus services and engage on campus, both academically and socially, can help keep these students on their path to graduation.5 Guided and informed by our experience, we are eager to engage our grantee partners in new efforts that reach beyond our scholarship recipients to offer financial aid information and college completion support to more low-income students across California. Together, we can address these issues and significantly increase post-secondary achievement for students who might not otherwise consider college. Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact 4
  • 5. Broadening Our Grantmaking Strategy { Facing a growing number of low-income students for whom college degrees remain elusive, the Foundation recently refocused its grantmaking strategies. These new strategies emphasize financial aid literacy and postenrollment support to increase college access and success for more students. Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact 5
  • 6. Making Financial Aid Accessible Students who understand the financial aid process and access the financial aid that is available to them are far more likely to attend college and persist through graduation. Unfortunately, low-income and first-generation college students are often the least likely to have access to this type of information.6 To tackle this information gap, the Foundation pursues two strategies. The first focuses on helping more students submit and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). The second aims to provide more students with access to financial aid advising. FAFSA Completion Financial Aid Strategy Help More Students Complete the FAFSA The Foundation supports organizations working on FAFSA completion efforts in high schools and school districts with large lowincome student populations. Completing the FAFSA is essential for students to qualify for public financial aid. But without assistance and support, students and their families are less likely to invest the time and attention needed to successfully complete the FAFSA.7 With this in mind, the Foundation funds and supports organizations working on FAFSA completion efforts in high schools and school districts with large low-income student populations. Our strategy aims to make completing the FAFSA and applying for financial aid a priority for all high school students in California. We believe this will increase access to college for students who wouldn’t otherwise be aware of the financial aid available to them. Financial Aid Advising Financial Aid Strategy Improve Financial Aid Advising The Foundation funds and supports organizations that help significant numbers of low-income students obtain public financial aid. For students who face significant economic barriers on the path to college, financial aid is the key to affordability. Unfortunately, the under-resourced schools that many of these students attend do not offer the counseling and advising they need.8 The Foundation hopes to bridge this gap by providing funds and support to organizations that can provide advising services and support to help significant numbers of these students obtain financial aid. Building on the services already offered to students who receive Foundation scholarships, this strategy seeks to extend financial aid services beyond the scholarship students we have traditionally reached. Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact 6
  • 7. Providing Support to Boost Completion A striking number of California students who enroll in college do not graduate. Only half of the students in the California State University system graduate in six years.9 In California’s community colleges, the vast majority of students who enroll never complete an associate’s degree or transfer to a four-year institution.10 The disparities for underrepresented minority students is even more striking. Only 46 percent of black students and 53 percent of Latino students at California’s four-year institutions graduate within six years, compared with 62 percent of white students.11 Completion Strategy Provide More Support Services for College Students The Foundation funds and supports efforts that bolster services to increase graduation rates among low-income college students. The Foundation’s third strategy aims to tackle this issue by supporting and engaging students on their path to a degree. Low-income college students—especially students who are the first in the family to go to college—are more likely to graduate when they have access to support systems that help guide them through the transition to college life. This support helps them engage academically and socially on campus, and vastly improves their persistence toward a degree.12 The Foundation seeks to fund efforts that provide low-income college students with this assistance. We support organizations seeking to implement innovative and collaborative tools, resources, and programming that bolster services that increase graduation rates among low-income college students. Scholarships The Foundation remains committed to scholarship grantmaking as a valuable tool for expanding access and promoting success. We will continue to award scholarship funding for organizations that align with our new strategies, and we will prioritize our scholarship grants for organizations that leverage our funding to expand access to financial aid and improve the postsecondary prospects of all of the students with whom they work. { The Foundation remains committed to scholarship grantmaking as a valuable tool for expanding access and promoting success. Where we continue to invest in scholarships, we expect to see increasing rates of college persistence and completion for the students we support. Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact 7
  • 8. What We Fund The Foundation awards grants to organizations that share our commitment to expanding opportunities for more low-income students, beyond those we have traditionally served with our scholarships. This funding may be program support, support for new or expanding collaboration efforts, scholarship grants or support for programs, resources or tools that improve financial aid advising or college completion efforts. What We Fund: Strategies for Reaching More Low-Income Students  Program Support  Capacity-Building Support Student Support Toward Completion  Innovative & Collaborative Tools, Resources & Program Support Scholarships More Students Served FAFSA Completion & Financial Aid Advising  Scholarship Grants  Program Support for Scholarship Programs The Outcomes We Expect to See The Foundation’s strategic shift reflects our firm commitment to narrowing the gap that is keeping a growing number of low-income Californians out of college. Where we invest to help more students complete the FAFSA and provide more students with financial aid advising, we expect to reduce the financial barrier to college access and completion. We anticipate that more of these high school graduates will access all of the public aid that is available to them and enroll in college. We believe college access programs across the state are well positioned to provide financial aid advising and college support resources for the local communities where they work. With our funding, we aim to support this effort and we hope to create opportunities for low-income students and families to access the resources they need to go to college. We also hope to see our grantees working with schools and school districts to prioritize college-going and FAFSA-completion as part of a common mission. Where the Foundation invests in post-enrollment support services and resources, we expect to gradually close the gap in graduation rates, so that low-income and historically underrepresented college students graduate from college at the same rate as their highest achieving peers. Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact 8
  • 9. Evaluation to Advance Access & Success As we implement our new strategies, we believe there is great value in testing new ideas and approaches and sharing the lessons learned with others who share our same commitment to college access and completion. Clear and credible information about the impact of our work not only benefits our partnerships and programs, it provides evidence for the value of similar public and private investments to improve college achievement statewide. To learn from these efforts, we remain committed to collecting and analyzing qualitative and quantitative data related to our desired outcomes from the organizations we fund. We hope our analysis will uncover lessons that regularly inform and improve our effectiveness and the success of our partnerships. We seek measurable improvements in the number of students who access financial aid, attend college and ultimately graduate. For our scholarship students, we continue to track individual data on academic progress and use of public financial aid. For the students we reach through our new strategic efforts, we seek to work with our grantees to find useful data points that accurately reflect our outcomes. To learn more about the College Access Foundation of California or to submit a new grant inquiry, visit w w w. c o l l e g e ac c e ss fo un d a t io n . o r g 1 Johnson, Hans. “Higher Education in California: New Goals for the Master Plan.” Public Policy Institute of California. 2010. http:// www.ppic.org/content/pubs/report/R_410HJR.pdf. 2 Brown, Michael and Christopher Edley, et al. “California at a Crossroads: Confronting the Looming Threat to Achievement, Access and Equity at the University of California and Beyond.” 2006. http://berkeley.edu/news/berkeleyan/2006/11/images/Brown_Edley.pdf 3 Kantrowitz, Mark. “Analysis of Why Some Students Do Not Apply for Financial Aid.” 2009. http://www.finaid.org/ educators/20090427CharacteristicsOfNonApplicants.pdf; Long, Bridget Terry. “Breaking the Affordability Barrier: How much of the college access problem is attributable to lack of information about financial aid?” 2009. http://www.highereducation.org/crosstalk/ct1209/ voices1209-btlong.shtml. 4 The Institute for College Access and Success. “Financial Aid Facts at California Community Colleges.” 2010. http://www.ticas.org/files/ pub/ccc_fact_sheet.pdf. 5 Engle, Jennifer, and Vincent Tinto. The Pell Institute. “Moving Beyond Access: College Success for Low-Income, First-Generation Students.” 2008. http://faculty.soe.syr.edu/vtinto/Files/Moving Beyond Access.pdf. 6 Pullias Center for Higher Education at the USC Rossier School of Education. “Putting Money on the Table: Information, Financial Aid and Access to College.” http://www.uscrossier.org/pullias/wp-content/uploads/2012/02/CHEPA_Putting_Money_on_the_Table.pdf. 7 Bettinger, Eric, Bridget Terry Long, et al. "The Role of Simplification and Information in College Decisions: Results from the H&R Block FAFSA Experiment." 2009. http://www.nber.org/papers/w15361; The College Board. “The Financial Aid Challenge: Successful Practices that Address the Underutilization of Financial Aid in Community Colleges.” 2010. http://advocacy.collegeboard.org/sites/default/ files/10b_1790_FAFSA_Exec_Report_WEB_100517.pdf 8 Burdman, Pamela. "The Student Debt Dilemma: Debt Aversion as a Barrier to College Access." 2005. http://projectonstudentdebt.org/ files/pub/DebtDilemma.pdf. 9 Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy. “Student Flow Analysis: CSU Student Progress Toward Graduation.” 2009. http:// www.csus.edu/ihelp/PDFs/R_CSU_MOA_excerpt.pdf. 10 Institute for Higher Education Leadership and Policy. “Divided We Fail: Improving Completion and Closing Racial Gaps in California's Community Colleges.” 2010. http://www.csus.edu/ihelp/PDFs/R_Div_We_Fail_1010.pdf. 11 The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. “Measuring Up 2008: The State Report Card on Higher Education, California.” 2008. http://measuringup2008.highereducation.org/print/state_reports/long/CA.pdf. 12 Engle, Jennifer, and Vincent Tinto. The Pell Institute. “Moving Beyond Access: College Success for Low-Income, First-Generation Students.” 2008. http://faculty.soe.syr.edu/vtinto/Files/Moving Beyond Access.pdf. Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact 9
  • 10. To learn more about the College Access Foundation of California visit w w w. c o l l e g e ac c e ss fo un d a t io n . o r g COLLEGE ACCESS FOUNDATION of CALIFORNIA One Front Street, Suite 1325, San Francisco, CA 94111 www.collegeaccessfoundation.org │ Follow us on Twitter: @CollegeAccessCA © 2012, College Access Foundation of California Broadening Our Approach & Expanding Our Impact 10

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