Larry Gordon/EdSource Today
High school junior Jose Palma will join the new UC program at the club in Pasadena.

Students who attend three Boys & Girls Clubs in California will be getting extra help and encouragement on a path to University of California enrollment through a new partnership announced Wednesday.

Under the program, UC will provide academic counseling, campus visits, financial aid advice and other support to the mainly low-income and minority young people who attend the clubs. A first phase will link three campuses and three local Boys & Girls Clubs that serve a total of 6,000 children and teens: UCLA with the club in Pasadena and UC Merced and UC San Francisco with clubs in their respective cities. UC and club officials said they hope to expand the efforts statewide after the first year.

In announcing the program at the Pasadena club, UC Board of Regents chairwoman Monica Lozano said the new effort is part of a wider strategy to expand the university’s reach and find promising students who might otherwise never apply.

“We want to give them the sense they can aspire to a UC, and we are prepared to do everything to help them to be ready to be UC eligible,” she said.

The 10-campus UC system is under pressure to increase the numbers of underrepresented minorities, especially blacks and Latinos. However, Proposition 209 forbids the state’s public universities from using affirmative action to give minorities any special boost in admission. Lozano portrayed the partnership with the clubs as a legal step to “make sure the diversity of California is represented on our campuses.”

“We want to give them the sense they can aspire to a UC, and we are prepared to do everything to help them to be ready to be UC eligible,” said UC regents chairwoman Monica Lozano.

As part of their help, the UC schools involved will be tracking students’ progress in high school to make sure they take classes and standardized tests required for UC admission and assisting them in getting enrolled in campus “Early Academic Outreach Programs” that acquaint them with UC faculty, students and majors.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America — which serves about 4 million young people at 4,200 clubs nationwide — have started similar arrangements with other colleges, including the University of Wisconsin at Madison, Amherst College in Massachusetts and Atlanta Technical College, according to Damon Williams, the national organization’s senior vice president and chief educational and youth development officer. The UC partnership is the first with an entire university system and is especially important because of UC’s strong academic reputation, Williams said at the Pasadena club.

“This will be a real game changer for Californians,” he said, adding that it will “strengthen the pipeline into higher education.”

Monica Lozano, chairwoman of the UC regents, spoke at the Boys & Girls Club in Pasadena.

Larry Gordon/EdSource Today

Monica Lozano, chairwoman of the UC regents, spoke at the Boys & Girls Club in Pasadena.

Wednesday’s event attracted high-ranking elected officials, most notably state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León. He spoke about how too many high school students in low-income areas lack access to the advanced placement and honors courses that give others an advantage in university admission and noted that only 42 percent of the state’s high school graduates take all the so-called A-G classes required by Cal State and UC.

“In too many cases, the students’ zip codes, their parents’ tax bracket or, quite frankly, the hue of their skin or their legal status or the language they speak is the difference between admission to a university or rejection,” said de León. Helping to level the playing field and boost college enrollment with programs like this, he added, is both a moral issue and an economic one for the state’s future.

Jose Palma, a high school junior who attends tutoring and other activities at the Pasadena Boys & Girls Club, said he will join the UC program, although his dream school, he said, is Pepperdine University. “I think it’s going to be a good opportunity for me and other students who come to the club,” he said. Some students, he said, “don’t know the path going to college.”

Many Boys & Girls Clubs already have their own College Bound programs that aid students with their applications and offer tours of schools. In a partnership with the College Board, some clubs have started using the free online Khan Academy tutorials to prepare students for the SAT exams.

Support independent journalism

If this article helped keep you informed and engaged with California education, would you consider supporting the nonprofit organization that brought it to you?

EdSource is participating in NewsMatch, a campaign to keep independent, nonprofit journalism strong. A gift to EdSource now means your donation will be matched, dollar for dollar, up to $1,000 per donation through the end of 2018. That means double the support for the reporters, editors and data specialists who brought you this story. Please make a contribution today.

Share Article

Comments (2)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked * *

Comments Policy

The goal of the comments section on EdSource is to facilitate thoughtful conversation about content published on our website. Click here for EdSource's Comments Policy.

  1. tonk 2 years ago2 years ago

    Is there anything for middle class people in San Diego? No, guess I will keep paying for the rest then…

    Replies

    • Lauren 2 years ago2 years ago

      Your sense of entitlement is disgusting. You are not "paying for the rest." If anything, "middle class people from San Diego" are over-represented. In actuality, "The rest" are paying for the "middle class people" from San Diego. Read More

      Your sense of entitlement is disgusting. You are not “paying for the rest.” If anything, “middle class people from San Diego” are over-represented. In actuality, “The rest” are paying for the “middle class people” from San Diego.