UCSD awarded federal grant for low-income students

    UCSD and the California Student Opportunity and Access Program have received a $150,000 grant to administer a federal program to help students in low-income communities pursue a college education.

    The money, distributed by the National Council for Community and Education Partnerships, will continue to fund a federal undergraduate readiness program at five secondary schools in San Diego and Imperial counties.

    Signed into law in 1998, the federal program is designed to assist students in secondary schools along a path toward a college education, according to the NCCEP Web site.

    “We believe that with the right preparation, students regardless of economic background can attend college,” said Michael Dabney, a spokesman for UCSD’s Student Educational Advancement, which runs the program. “Preparation is key.”

    Since 2000, UCSD and Cal-SOAP have administered the program through five-year renewable grants from the federal government, according to the Student Educational Advancement web site. The $150,000 grant is an additional award to the program and is not part of the renewal grants.

    SBC Communications director Ignacio De La Torre awarded the grants at an academic rally at Gompers High School on Oct. 6. In an official declaration, San Diego Mayor Dick Murphy named the day after the readiness program.

    UCSD first identified the five recipient schools in 1999 while applying for a grant through the U.S. Department of Education to focus on underserved middle and high school students in San Diego and Imperial Counties with low rates of college attendance, according to Dabney.

    “[UCSD is] making noticeable gains in Latino students’ [attendance], but we still need more work in African-American and Native-American students,” Dabney said.

    The program’s goal is to “assist students to achieve college potential,” San Diego and Imperial counties’ Cal-SOAP Director Linda Doughty stated in a press release.

    The grants will be used to provide after-school reading programs, computer technology, standardized test preparatory classes, financial aid counseling and career development plans, according to Dabney.

    De La Torre said SBC chose to endorse the federal program because it focuses on students who need it the most.

    “The federal government can’t afford to continue to support the schools as [it once] did,” he said.

    Now in its fifth year, the program has recruited students from UCSD to work as academic counselors.

    “We’re trying to serve underserved kids early … to try to offer them one-on-one guidance,” said college peer advisor Kris Saradpon, a John Muir College graduate.

    Enrollment in the program at Gompers High School has been tremendous and students have raised their grades from C’s to A’s, said Elias Escamilla, the school’s program director. Gompers is currently applying for renewal grants to run the program for another five years.

    “[The program] got me more ready for college,” Gompers junior Lawrence Ware said. “Now I know what I want to get into when I graduate. I want to go to [University of San Diego].”

    More to Discover
    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal

    Your donation will support the student journalists at University of California, San Diego. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment, keep printing our papers, and cover our annual website hosting costs.

    Donate to The UCSD Guardian
    $200
    $500
    Contributed
    Our Goal