Community colleges are the primary gateway to postsecondary education for hundreds of thousands of Californians, particularly for low-income students. Students who earn a degree or certificate from these institutions nearly double their earnings within three years. In addition, many community college students transfer to four-year institutions to complete their studies; 28 percent of University of California graduates and 55 percent of California State University graduates are community college transfers.
Among low-income students of color and new immigrants, however, only a small fraction complete their studies toward a community college certificate or degree, or transfer to a four-year institution. The majority of these students lack the basic proficiency in English and math that is required to meet college-level standards; as a result, they need remedial courses to catch up.
In an effort to help ensure that all community college students have the opportunity to succeed, the Haas, Jr. Fund is supporting new strategies and partnerships to accelerate student completion at City College of San Francisco. Our priorities in this work include: aligning assessments, teaching and curriculum from high school through college; and reforming basic skills instruction and career and technical education.
The Fund is working to:
- Support Bridge to Success, a partnership between the Mayor’s office, the school district, City College of San Francisco and San Francisco State University to double the number of low-income youth who achieve college degrees and credentials. We are working with the John W. Gardner Center at Stanford University to identify challenges and help more students graduate from college.
- Support the development of a strategic plan at City College of San Francisco to improve retention and completion rates among low-income, underrepresented students, particularly by integrating remedial instruction in math and English with career and technical training. We are working with the Career Ladders Project to support City College in this campus-wide planning effort.
- Amplify the voices of low-income, underrepresented students at City College to inform changes to policies and practices that will accelerate college completion.
Grantmaking for this area of work is currently by invitation only.