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New Obama Administration Report Findings: UC San Diego Excels at Serving Low-Income Students


  • Christine Clark

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  • Christine Clark

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Image: UC San Diego students in lecture

Photo by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

On Thursday, March 24, the Department of Education issued a report highlighting the University of California, San Diego as one of the nation’s top universities that excel at enrolling and graduating students who qualify for federal Pell grants and ensuring they succeed once they arrive on campus. These students comprise at least 40 percent of the population at all of the schools featured in the report, Fulfilling the Promise, Serving the Need: Advancing College Opportunity for Low-Income Students.

“Education is the key to social and economic mobility, and UC San Diego is honored to be recognized once again for providing our students with opportunities to succeed,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “It is vital and fundamental to our mission, as a public university, to remain affordable and accessible to our students.”

According to the report, what makes UC San Diego and other schools identified in the report stand out is their concerted effort to enroll and improve outcomes for students with modest means. That might mean providing financial aid and academic advising and mentoring.

At UC San Diego, many of the efforts to help these students succeed are spearheaded by the office of Student Retention and Success, led by assistant vice chancellor, Jeffrey Orgera. Orgera leads a team at UC San Diego that provides academic success services to several distinct student populations that includes historically underrepresented students, undocumented students, military-affiliated students, international students and others. The team also is collaborating with other units on campus to develop more comprehensive academic support services for all students on campus.

According to the recent Department of Education report, since the beginning of President Obama’s administration, he has worked to ensure more Americans have the opportunity to get a quality, affordable higher education.

This message was echoed in the Department of Education’s first College Scorecard, released last year, which gave high marks to UC San Diego, as well as its sister campuses throughout the University of California. The interactive website, which bases its analysis on data from students who received federal financial aid, shows that all 10 UC campuses, including UC San Diego, excelled in the areas measured in the scorecard which included cost, graduation rates and student debt levels.

UC San Diego also earned praise for being accessible and affordable to students of all backgrounds from the New York Times, which named it the No. 4 school in the nation in the Times’ College Access Index, which measures which universities do the most for low-income students.

The New York Times announcement came just weeks after UC San Diego was named by Washington Monthly as the No.1 university in the nation for the sixth consecutive year. The magazine’s annual college rankings measure how universities are acting on behalf of the public interest, based on three criteria: research, service and social mobility, measuring the number of students who receive federal Pell grants and their graduation rates.

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