Ensuring College Affordability for Oakland Students

Only 10 percent of Oakland public-school students graduate from college within five years. To boost those numbers, the city’s mayor Libby Schaaf launched an initiative that helps break down barriers to going to college. This includes helping students complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a process necessary to receive federal grants and scholarships. Much of Oakland’s funding for this initiative currently comes from private philanthropy, making the program’s existence vulnerable.

FUSE executive fellow Patrice Berry will develop a sustainable plan to maximize the financial resources available to Oakland students who want to apply, enroll and complete college. She will identify gaps in the city’s college affordability offerings, and identify barriers that prevent or discourage families from completing the FAFSA and applying for financial aid. Patrice will explore opportunities for other sources of financing, such as scholarships, tuition waivers, and the California Dream Act. The city’s goal is to triple the number of public-school students who graduate from college by 2025, and eventually help all students complete college, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds.