After identifying issues of common concern, SoCal CAN members come together to design programming meant to collectively serve their students. These programs tap into the core competencies of our network and leverage our collective power and voice.
Level Up Program
To combat Los Angeles’ strikingly low college persistence rates for low-income, first generation students, over 15 SoCal CAN members have joined together to collectively design Level Up, a collaborative program which guides students through the first year of college when dropping out is most prevalent. The resulting program is based on social and emotional intelligence research and evaluated practice. It seeks to leverage the investment college access programs and foundations are making in preparing students for college and the campus-based resources available to students.
The program achieves these goals in 3 major ways:
- By helping students experience a strong sense of belonging on campus
- By connecting students to existing campus resources
- By training students to be strong self- and peer-advocates.
Project SOAR is a new initiative to help students in public housing pursue their college and career dreams. Funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Project SOAR will place Education Navigators at the housing sites to provide one-on-one advising to residents. Students will receive assistance in completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), applying for scholarships, submitting college applications and making a smooth transition into college.
Los Angeles is one of nine cities across the country selected to participate in the two-year pilot. An exciting partnership has been formed between The Housing Authority for the City of Los Angeles and the Southern California College Access Network to develop a plan for Project SOAR LA. The plan takes into consideration the nuanced needs of the student population and leverages existing programs and resources in the region.
Three full-time Education Navigators have been hired to work on five sites in East and South Los Angeles: Ramona Gardens, William Mead, Nickerson, Avalon and Gonzaque. The Education Navigators have been trained by College Access Plan, an organization with deep expertise in drop-in college advising. They are also receiving support from LA Cash for College to help students complete the FAFSA and from Families in Schools to engage parents and caring adults in the college-planning process.
A team of researchers from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development will be closely monitoring and evaluating Project SOAR’s impact on the students served. Our goal is to develop an effective model that can be replicated/adapted at other public housing sites.