University of California chancellors and senior leaders will meet with thousands of high school students and their families in the coming weeks to urge them to aim for a UC education.
Starting with a visit to a Bay Area high school in early November, UC President Janet Napolitano will join other leaders, recent UC graduates and admissions advisers to deliver the message that a UC education is attainable and affordable to students from all walks of life.
The visits are part of Achieve UC, an effort Napolitano launched to expand the number and diversity of California students enrolled at UC’s nine undergraduate campuses.
In all, UC representatives will visit 100 schools, community groups and other outreach events this fall to provide students with practical information and resources to help them prepare for and apply to UC.
One of the key objectives is to ensure that students and their families know that a UC education is affordable, regardless of family income. The university has one of the most generous financial aid programs in the nation. More than half of California undergraduates pay no tuition, and three-quarters pay less than full tuition.
“When students see the ample financial aid that is available and compare out-of-pocket costs, many are surprised to learn that an education at the best public university in the world is also one of the most affordable options available,” Napolitano said.
By spreading the message of affordability and access, officials hope to encourage more California students to reach for a UC education.
Events are targeted, in part, toward schools and communities with significant numbers of students who are UC eligible but have relatively low application numbers.
One important goal is to combat misperceptions that cause some high-achieving students to rule out a UC education because of the mistaken belief that they can’t afford it.
“We want every hardworking student to know that there is a place for you at UC,” Napolitano said. “Our doors are open — and we are committed to opening them even wider, with a plan to welcome thousands more California students to our campuses over the next two years.”
Along with an inspirational message, the events give students and their families practical tools, such as workshops on aspects of the college-going process, from SAT test taking to budgeting and applying for financial aid.
Advisers — many of them UC grads who grew up in the communities they will be visiting — will be available to review students’ progress in completing the courses they need to be eligible for a UC education and to offer tips on writing strong applications.
At some events, advisers will even work with students to complete their UC applications on the spot.
Students who aren’t ready for a four-year college will learn about new transfer pathways that have simplified the process of getting to UC from community college — a route taken by one out of every three UC graduates.
“A UC education is a game-changer that will continue to open doors for the rest of your life,” Napolitano said.
“You do your part: work hard, take advantage of leadership opportunities and push yourself to take challenging classes. And no matter who you are, where you come from or how much money you and your family have, we’ll do our part to help you get here.”