Advancing College-Going Culture

African-American boy studying

Why a special focus on this issue, especially for low-income and ethnic/minority students?

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College-going rates differ disproportionately by students’ family income level and racial/ethnic group, and the problem of unequal access to higher education in California is serious and worsening. This unequal access to higher education has implications for California's economy and for our most underserved communities.

  • The proportion of California's high school graduates who are Chicano, Latino, African American, or American Indian has grown to about 45%, but these ethnic/minority groups only account for about 21% of the admitted freshman class at the University of California and 35% at the California State University.
  • Forty-nine percent (49%) of the freshmen admitted to the University of California in 2005 from public high schools came from a set of "top" feeder high schools, which account for only 20% of each year's public high school graduates; this proportion is increasing over time.
  • In 2006 the Public Policy Institute of California reported that only 17% of Latino students and 19% of African American students who began at a California community college in 1997  transferred to a four-year institution. That compares to rates of 30% for white students and 41% for Asian/Pacific Islanders.
  • Many reports note that the persistence and graduation rates for low-income students and students of color in the California State University system are extremely low.


Removing the Roadblocks: Fair College Opportunities for All California Students

Oakes, UC ACCORD and UCLA-IDEA, 2006

This report describes the uneven distribution of college preparation resources in California high schools; reviews the record of low college participation among African American, Latino and American Indian students; and concludes with a set of policy recommendations to remove these roadblocks. Removing_Roadblocks_to_College_(Oakes_et_al__07).pdf (1249.5KB)

Betraying the College Dream

Venezia, Kirst and Antonio, Bridge Project, Stanford University, 2003

One of the first studies to document the specific disadvantages low-income students and students of color face in their ability to access a college education. The report describes the disconnects between K-12 and post-secondary education and details areas in which students, parents, and educators do not have correct information to inform their advice or decisions.

A Surprising Secret to a Long Life: Stay in School

Kolta, New York Times, January 3, 2007

This article discusses research indicating that staying in school leads to a longer life. In this study, education proves a more important factor than either race or income in determining life expectancy. A_Surprising_Secret_to_a_Long_Life_Stay_in_School_-_New_York_Times.htm (26.41KB)


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Last modified on 9/10/2009

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