CSUB awarded grant to expand university access to high school students

January 14, 2009
Kathy Miller, 661/654-2456, kmiller26@csub.edu or
Michele Newel, 661/654-2720, mnewell1@csub.edu

California State University Bakersfield has been awarded a $192,000 grant from the AT&T Foundation to expand access to college for local high school students. CSUB is one of only four California State University campuses selected to receive a portion of the $1.6 million dollar grant - one of the largest corporate commitments ever made to address high school success and work force readiness.

The funding, to be award over four years, establishes the CSU College Corps (CCC). The program will utilize university graduate and undergraduate students to improve student access to the CSU system from underserved high schools. CCC students will augment the work of high school guidance counselors, and mentor high school students about college admission requirements, application processes and financial aid application processes.

"Our objective is to increase college admissions awareness and financial aid knowledge by high school students so they do not feel intimidated by the admission process," explained Kalene Winn, project coordinator for CSUB. "We will also establish a strong working relationship with our graduate programs so that those students may receive internship hours in return for their participation. In addition, our undergraduate students will also provide 10-15 hours per week of academic advising to students."

Locally, South and Golden Valley high schools were selected by CSUB to participate in the program. The goal is to recruit at least 200 students, prior to their freshman year, mentor them throughout high school and monitor their first college semester. Each CCC graduate student will have a group of no more than five high school students for whom they are directly responsible. The low mentor-to-student ratio will ensure that students receive the help they need.

"We are excited about the opportunity to pilot this program at CSUB," Winn said. "CCC is a win-win for both the community and CSUB. The program offers support to students who need the guidance and it provides for CSUB graduate students with needed internship hours."

Planning for CCC is now under way with full implementation expected for fall 2009.