Chancellor to urge high school students to pursue higher education dreams

Achieve UC is meant to provide young people with both inspiration and practical tools to get on a path to college—whether at UC or elsewhere. (Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta)

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal will tell hundreds of students at Watsonville High School to aim for a UC education as part of an annual University of California outreach effort.

“Every student in Santa Cruz County and beyond should know a UC education is within their reach,” Blumenthal said. “The University California is committed to making an education affordable and attainable for all students in our state.”

In support of Achieve UC, Blumenthal will speak to 400 Watsonville High School students from 9:30–11 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 26. The day is filled with additional sessions that focus on pathways to UC, CSU, and community colleges, as well as financial aid options.

Senior leaders from all 10 UC campuses will visit high schools around the state, delivering the message that college-and a UC education-is attainable and affordable to students from all walks of life. The university has one of the most generous financial aid programs in the nation: 57 percent of California students receive enough aid to completely cover their tuition and fees, and 75 percent pay less than the sticker price.

Events are targeted, in part, toward schools and communities with significant numbers of students who are UC eligible but have relatively low application numbers. The goal is to provide young people with both inspiration and practical tools to get on a path to college-whether at UC or elsewhere.

Blumenthal will speak to students from WHS in grades 10–12 about the feasibility of a UC education and the importance of acquiring a college degree. The event will also include workshops for seniors that are designed to highlight the various college systems and two resource/college fairs for students to get their questions answered, and create opportunities that expand access to, and interest in, post-secondary education.

UC leaders will reach roughly 30,000 students from schools with lower than average college-going rates from October through May 2017. College representatives will also be on hand to talk to students about applying to college, the availability of scholarships, and financial aid.

Students often are unaware of the range of resources available to make college affordable for all Californians. UC’s Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, for instance, covers the full cost of tuition for students whose families earn $80,000 a year or less.

More than half of UC undergraduates who are California residents pay zero tuition thanks to the Blue and Gold Plan and other grants and scholarships.

“We want every hardworking student to know that there is a place for you at UC,” UC President Janet 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.”

Students are often surprised to learn how many from their school who apply to UC get in. Those 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.”