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Mark Kamimura-Jiménez, Adriana Badillo, Anna L. Piercy, Joseph Farley, administrators who oversaw new partnership

Cal State Fullerton and the Anaheim Union High School District are partnering to put college within reach of more of the district’s students. Under "The Collaborative for Higher Education," CSUF will guarantee admission for graduating seniors who meet the university’s entrance requirements. From left: Mark Kamimura-Jiménez, CSUF director of educational partnerships; Adriana Badillo, director of the CSUF Talent Search Program; Anna L. Piercy, AUHSD Board of Trustees president; and Joseph Farley, district superintendent, champion the partnership developed by the institutions.

New Partnership Provides Road Map to College

CSUF, Anaheim District Team to Guarantee Admission for Graduating Seniors

Beginning next year, graduating seniors in the Anaheim Union High School District can make a beeline for Cal State Fullerton, thanks to a new partnership between the university and the district.

As part of the pact, Cal State Fullerton will guarantee admission to students from district schools who meet the university's entrance requirements.

Through "The Collaborative for Higher Education," students in seventh to 12th grades will receive academic support and university resources during their middle and high school years to guide them on the road to a postsecondary education.

"This unique collaboration with the Anaheim Union High School District will firmly put qualifying high school students on the path to admission to the university and success in their college career," said Cal State Fullerton President Milton A. Gordon. "The joint venture is the latest effort to fulfill the university's mission to make quality, affordable higher education widely available in our local communities."

Currently, admission to CSUF is granted largely on a first-come, first-served basis to those who meet the entrance requirements and live within the university's service area. While AUHSD schools are part of that area, many of its students may not think college is within reach or take the necessary steps to prepare themselves academically for college admission.

"This unique partnership aims to create a pathway to college by instituting a college-going culture among students at schools in the Anaheim Union High School District," said Silas H. Abrego, Cal State Fullerton associate vice president for student affairs. "It's critical to our state's future that more students of diverse academic experiences, ethnicities, cultures and economic circumstances are provided with the opportunity to attend college."

A 2005 study by UC Berkeley that looked at the state's demographic future and the return on investment for expanding college opportunity found that "for every dollar spent increasing the number of students attending college and completing degrees, the state gets $3 in net return on that investment." According to the Campaign for College Opportunity, this snapshot provides support for increasing focused attention on encouraging higher rates of high school graduation for Latinos and African Americans and improving the success of enrolling those high school graduates in college.

Earlier this month, CSU Trustees adopted an updated long-range strategic plan, Access to Excellence, which "commits the CSU to ensure the success of students in knowing how to enter college, and sees them through to completion to a baccalaureate degree and beyond," said Roberta Achtenberg, chair of the CSU Board of Trustees.

Abrego noted that the university is excited about embarking on this new agreement with the Anaheim Union High School District to further efforts to get the word out among young students that higher education is possible.

"Under Superintendent Joseph Farley, the district has demonstrated great interest in guiding their students to higher education, and we are glad to be a part of this partnership," Abrego said.

Farley agreed that the partnership would help foster the mindset among AUHSD students that a college education is an attainable goal.

"This partnership will put college within reach of many of our students, and help raise expectations throughout the district for a college education," Farley said. "Through the collaborative, we are actively engaging the entire educational community in the educational future of our young people. This program uses the best resources that each institution has to offer to support students on the road to higher education."

The collaborative also reflects the AUHSD Board of Trustees' focus to provide multiple pathways to postsecondary education, said AUHSD Board President Anna L. Piercy.

"As a board, we are very committed to providing students with the resources and training they need to succeed after high school. For the student who chooses to go to college, the collaborative provides them with clear, step-by-step instructions on how to attain that goal."

The school district's graduating seniors must meet basic college preparatory requirements in order to be admitted to the university.

"We hope this collaboration will serve to inspire and motivate students from Anaheim Union High School District to prepare for higher education early. It's important to demonstrate that having a specific plan makes it much easier to reach their educational goals," Abrego said.

Both the university and school district will conduct a variety of outreach efforts - with CSUF using existing resources, as well as state and federal grant monies - to inform, expose, prepare and support students in their pursuit of higher education, said Mark Kamimura-Jiménez, Cal State Fullerton's director of educational partnerships.

"We want to prepare them for the rigors of college - and how to be successful once they are here," Kamimura-Jiménez said.

Under the partnership, students will get information about the academic achievement required in junior high and high school to guarantee university admittance, Kamimura-Jiménez said. Additionally, students in seventh grade will be exposed to the option of pursuing a college education.

"When you start working with students as early as seventh grade, and talking about what they need to do to get into a college or university, it puts the idea of college on their radar screens and helps them to get on track for college," he said.

Cal State Fullerton will conduct yearly site visits to all junior high and high schools in the district, participate in college fairs and host a conference for AUHSD junior high and high school counselors, Kamimura-Jiménez noted. Additionally, this fall, seventh-graders and high school-age students will visit the Cal State Fullerton campus for special events hosted by the university.

"Most of these students will be visiting a college campus for their first time," Kamimura-Jiménez said, adding that many will be the first in their families to pursue a college education.

The university also will take a leadership role in enriching the academic experiences of AUHSD students, teachers and administrators, he added.

The school district will send information to parents, counselors, teachers, administrators and key communicators in the community. Announcements also will be made at campuses to reinforce the initiative.

In other outreach efforts, Cal State Fullerton currently provides college preparation and education programs to AUHSD students through the university's Talent Search Program and Titan Choices Program, sponsored by a four-year $1 million grant awarded in 2006 from the U.S. Department of Education for providing outreach services to students and their parents.

The Talent Search Program is one of the university's federally funded "TRIO" programs, which focus on helping youths from disadvantaged families pursue and attain a college education.

About 600 students in grades nine through 11 at Anaheim, Katella, Magnolia and Savanna high schools are currently served through the program, said Adriana Badillo, program director.

Titan Choices aims to disseminate information about the benefits of higher education to high school students and what they need to do to be college-eligible.

About The Collaborative for Higher Education Partners:

A comprehensive, regional university with a global outlook, Cal State Fullerton enrolls more than 36,000 students and offers 105 degree programs in eight colleges. Accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, Cal State Fullerton is seventh in the nation for the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to minority students and first in California for the number of bachelor's degrees awarded to Hispanics.

The Anaheim Union High School District, which was founded in 1898, has approximately 34,000 students in grades 7-12. The district serves the cities of Anaheim, Cypress, Buena Park, La Palma and Stanton. Students speak 49 different languages in their homes, attend 23 campuses and hail from five feeder elementary districts.

Media Contacts:
Silas H. Abrego, Cal State Fullerton Student Affairs, 657-278-2486 or
Mark Kamimura-Jiménez, Cal State Fullerton Educational Partnerships, 657-278-5579 or
Adriana Badillo, CSUF Talent Search Program, 657-278-8280 or
Debra Cano Ramos, Cal State Fullerton Public Affairs, 657-278-4027 or