Introducing College Success Arizona
College matters for young people of all backgrounds, and especially for first-generation college-goers and minority students. Today, more than ever, the most powerful instrument of economic mobility for low-income Arizonans is a college degree.
Graduating with a four-year degree has economic and social benefits for individual students, their families, their communities and for the entire state. More college degree holders will reap dividends across the state of Arizona. College graduates earn more over the course of their lifetimes. They benefit from lower unemployment rates. They offer skills needed by 21st century employers. An educated workforce strengthens Arizona’s economy, and higher-earning citizens contribute more to the state in taxes.
If we increase college graduation rates in Arizona, we will also increase the number of Arizona residents who:
- Are healthier
- Have children who do better in school
- Vote more
- Volunteer and serve on civic boards more
- Patronize the arts
This is why we are launching College Success Arizona: To improve the quality of life in our state by increasing college graduation rates.
We do this by:
- Providing scholarships and mentoring support services to low-income, high-potential students to support increases in college access and success across the state, particularly among Latino students
- Building partnerships across the state to provide college success services to existing scholarship programs and education focused institutions that increase the number of low-income students attending college in Arizona
- Conducting research and policy advocacy that raises the awareness of the importance of college graduation and engagement and mobilization that builds public will for significant increases in college graduation rates across the state
- Support of more than 200 college access and success organizations throughout the state.
College Success Arizona is actually the new name and expanded mission of an organization that was started as the Arizona College Scholarship Foundation in 2005. Former Governor Janet Napolitano and several successful business leaders in the state created the original organization. Our founders included Bob Craves, a founder of Costco; Don Budinger, Arizona business leader and founder of the Rodel Foundation; Frank Brady, community leader and former audit partner with Ernst & Young, and Paul Koehler of WestEd, who served as an original board member and as education adviser to Governor Napolitano.
College Success Arizona is forming a number of partnerships across the state aimed at:
- Increasing the number of students who attend and graduate from Arizona colleges, particularly those who are low-income
- Empowering students and families with strategies that help them persist in college
- Providing a suite of personal, face to face and electronic mentoring and peer networking services that help students persist in college and form valuable social bonds and employment skills
- Connecting college graduates to potential employers in the state
College Success Arizona works with community organizations working to prepare K-12 students with the academic coursework and skills they need to get into and succeed in college. We also work with these organizations to identify high-achieving, low-income students who can benefit from our scholarship and mentoring services.
College Success Arizona works with existing scholarship providers to provide mentoring and other college success services to ensure that students persist through challenging times—whether the transition into college their freshman year or transferring from a community college or university—to ensure that students stay in school and on track to graduation.
College Success Arizona works with community colleges and universities to help increase retention and graduation rates.
College Success Arizona works with education leaders to provide data that helps them make a case for college and to provide tools, process and success stories that can shed light on what it takes to ensure that students persist to college graduation.
Learn more about our work. We’ll be blogging here frequently, and hope you’ll stay in touch.