March 20, 2015

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Chancellor Brice W. Harris congratulates California community college, CSU and UC campuses for winning multi-million dollar award for innovation in higher education

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Chancellor Brice W. Harris congratulated a variety of California community college, CSU and UC campuses following an announcement today from the Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education that they won a $50 million state award for developing inventive programs that increase student access and success outcomes. It will be split among the winning campuses.

The state Budget Act of 2014 appropriates $50 million in one-time resources from the General Fund for the Awards for Innovation in Higher Education program. The program recognizes California community college, CSU and UC campuses that change existing policies, practices or systems to achieve the following priorities:

Significantly increase the number of bachelor’s degrees awarded.

Allow students to complete bachelor’s degrees within four years after beginning higher education.

Ease transfer through the state’s education system by better recognizing learning that occurs across the state's education segments and elsewhere.

“I congratulate all of the winning colleges, universities and their other partners on receiving this prestigious and well-earned award,” said Harris. “Increasing access to higher education and boosting completion rates are laudable goals and will foster the economic and social well-being of this state. Achieving these twin goals require innovations in how education is delivered and strong partnerships among a wide swath of institutions, as today’s winners demonstrate. They are leading the way.”

Any California community college, CSU and UC campus was eligible to apply for the award, individually or as part of a group. Applications were due Jan. 9. 2015.

A committee consisting of representatives from the Department of Finance, State Board of Equalization, California Community Colleges Board of Governors, CSU Board of Trustees, UC Board of Regents, California State Senate and California State Assembly reviewed the applications and selected the winning campuses.

The winning campuses were selected based on the extent to which the changes described in their applications addressed the following criteria:

Alignment: The extent to which the changes credibly achieved the state’s priorities at a lower cost than existing policies, practices and systems, without requiring that students pay increased tuition or fees.

Scale: The extent to which the changes involved broad participation by UC, CSU and community college campuses, local education agencies, including school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools, and can be replicated by other campuses.

Commitment: The extent to which the campuses showed commitment to achieving the state’s priorities, as evidenced by changes made on or after Jan. 10, 2014; the likelihood that any planned changes would be implemented; the support of faculty, students, and other individuals and groups involved in or impacted by these changes; and the ability to sustain changes over the long-term.

Distribution of awards is pending final review by the committee of the proposed use of funds.

Some of the winning colleges and universities include CSU Monterey Bay and Hartnell Community College. They applied for an award jointly, and received one for their innovative cohort-based, three-year Bachelor of Science degree program in computer science and information technology, called “CSIT-In-3.” Students take classes at both schools and have access to specialized support activities like tutoring, field trips and professional development workshops. The program represents a new model for bachelor’s degree completion as well as for improving enrollment, retention, transfer and graduation for disadvantaged and underrepresented students in a high skill field. It has a persistence rate of 88 percent, nearly 30 points higher than STEM programs overall. Its first cohort had a transfer rate to CSU Monterey Bay of 100 percent.

Another winning group was City College of San Francisco, San Francisco State University, Diablo Valley College and Skyline College for the Metro College Success Program, which was co-founded by SFSU and CCSF. Metro is a comprehensive re-design of the first two years of college, the time of heaviest attrition for disadvantaged students. Metro is a “school within a school” during the first two years, serving as an educational home for approximately
140 students. Metro is designed to give students extra support and a strong foundation for college success. Students in Metro are part of a cohort or learning community that works together over three to four semesters, supporting each other every step of the way. The program has a consistent track record of sharply boosting timely graduation and transfer for disadvantaged students. A rigorous cost efficiency study showed that Metro produces measureable cost reductions of $22,714 per community college graduate or transfer student, and $17,879 per CSU graduate. Metro was developed to be scaled up and sustained throughout California community colleges and universities. It is anticipated that the program will expand to include Skyline College and Diablo Valley College.

A comprehensive list of the winning schools and summaries of their programs can be found here.

The California Community Colleges is the largest system of higher education in the nation composed of 72 districts and 112 colleges serving 2.1 million students per year. Community colleges supply workforce training, basic skills education and prepare students for transfer to four-year institutions. The Chancellor’s Office provides leadership, advocacy and support under the direction of the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges. For more information about the community colleges, please visit,, or