Overall Rating Gold
Overall Score 83.85
Liaison Mark Maxwell
Submission Date March 1, 2019
Executive Letter Download

STARS v2.1

University of California, Merced
PA-7: Affordability and Access

Status Score Responsible Party
Complete 3.52 / 4.00 Heather Nardello
Associate Director of Financial Aid
Financial Aid
"---" indicates that no data was submitted for this field

Does the institution have policies and programs to make it accessible and affordable to low-income students?:
Yes

A brief description of any policies and programs to minimize the cost of attendance for low-income students:

The UC Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan covers tuition and student services fees for California residents whose family earns less than $80,000 a year and who qualify for financial aid.

Golden Bobcat Grants and Scholarships are available for eligible undergraduate students with funding provided by the Regents of the University of California and the State of California. Award amounts are determined based on family income and financial need.

Middle Class Scholarship is a program for students with family income up to $171,000, and household assets of no more than $171,000: MCS will cover between 10 percent and 40 percent of systemwide tuition and fees.


A brief description of any programs to equip the institution’s faculty and staff to better serve students from low-income backgrounds:

The Center for Engaged Teaching and Learning offers the Faculty Academy on Teaching First-Year Students; a faculty community which discusses the challenges and solutions that come with engaging incoming UC Merced students. The primary goal of this academy is to understand first-year students' needs as the target for further instructional resource planning.


A brief description of the institution’s programs to guide and prepare students and families from low-income backgrounds for higher education:

The Parent Empowerment Program (PEP) was established in 2004 through a grant from the California Student Aid Commission and EdFund. The primary purpose of the Parent Empowerment Program (PEP) is to empower unwilling parents in the Central San Joaquin Valley in such a way that they clearly and unequivocally can understand and assist their willing children to navigate the myriad of issues related to both financing a higher education and matriculating to a college or university.

The PEP has allowed the UC Merced CEP to fulfill its goal of supplementing student and school-centered activities with parental interventions that influence the extent to which unwilling parents support their student’s matriculation at baccalaureate-granting institutions. The PEP also seeks to increase postsecondary application rates at targeted schools through this effort.

At the heart of the PEP are parental interventions based on an eight-session curriculum focusing on higher-education matters. Since 2004, the PEP has served 9004 parents at 62 schools.


A brief description of the institution's scholarships for low-income students:

The UC Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan covers educational and student services fees for California residents whose family earns less than $80,000 a year and who qualify for financial aid.

Golden Bobcat Grants and Scholarships are available for eligible undergraduate students with funding provided by the Regents of the University of California and the State of California. Award amounts are determined based on family income and financial need.


A brief description of the institution’s targeted outreach to recruit students from low-income backgrounds:

As the newest campus of the University of California (UC) system, Merced has crafted a distinctive vision and culture as an institution of higher learning leading innovated approaches for district, student, and parent-centered services in the Central San Joaquin Valley.

In April 2002, the University of California, Merced (hereinafter “UC Merced”), created a single, comprehensive student academic preparation and educational partnerships unit within the division of Student Affairs called the Center for Educational Partnerships (CEP), located in Fresno, California. The UC Merced CEP houses all Student Academic Preparation and Educational Partnership (SAPEP) activities, including the UC Scholars Early Academic Outreach Program (EAOP), the Parent Empowerment Program (PEP), the Data Analysis and Evaluation Program, Transfer Scholars Program, the Gateway Scholars Program, the Talent Search Program (TS), the Upward Bound Program (UB), the Upward Bound Math and Science Program, Boys and Girls Clubs of America Partnership, and the Equity and Access Partnerships.

The UC Merced CEP was established to effect long-range improvement in the education of Central San Joaquin Valley students and ultimately increase the number of students eligible to attend an institution of higher education. All UC Merced CEP programs seek to increase University of California (UC) and California State University (CSU) competitive eligibility and admission rates in the Central San Joaquin Valley.

Using the recommendations made in the University of California’s Strategic Review Panel on UC Educational Outreach as a guide, the UC Merced CEP’s success has primarily come from its ability to provide district, student, and parent-centered services that seek to “connect the disconnect” between the “efforts to reform K-12 and the University’s efforts to ensure a diverse student body.”


A brief description of the institution’s other policies or programs to make the institution accessible and affordable to low-income students:

The CEP continues to seek active engagement from new and longstanding school partners that are steadfast in sponsoring student programs that result in more students graduating with the greatest number of postsecondary choices from the widest array of options. Most of the academic interventions that positively impact student outcomes take place during the months of June and July and normally outcomes are not available by the reporting deadline of July 15th.

The CA Rural and Small-Town Official SAT Practice Challenge

In partnership with The College Board, the CEP promoted the CA Rural and Small-Town Official SAT Practice Challenge in districts located in rural communities. The following four (4) CEP district partnerships participated in the challenge: (1) Golden Plains Unified School District, (2) Corcoran Unified School District, (3) Le Grand Union School District, and (4) Delhi Unified School District.

The Center played a supportive role as each district was tasked to create and implement an intervention that sought to connect students to free Official SAT Practice to help boost college and career readiness.

Districts who actively participated in the Challenge were considered for one of five (5) $10,000 awards available, totaling $50,000. Two of the four CEP rural district partnerships who actively participated in the challenge, Le Grand Union School District and Golden Plains Unified School, were each awarded $10,000. The Le Grand Union High School District will use the funding to award scholarships to the 2019 graduates.
More importantly, the partnership with the College Board brought to light additional resources available to students and districts. For the first time ever, both the Le Grand Union School District and Golden Plains Unified implemented the SAT during a school day; significantly increasing the number of SAT test takers. The Golden Plains Unified School District proctoring the exam for all 11th grade students.
Merced County P-16 Education and Community Council

Since its establishment, the UC Merced CEP has been an active and supporting partner of the Merced County P-16 Education and Community Council whose goals is to “eliminate the resource and opportunity gaps to improve college and workforce readiness and success.” As the lead external evaluator of the Merced County P-16 Education and Community Council, the UC Merced CEP evaluates the Council’s efforts to better coordinate, integrate, and provide college and career options for students as of early care through postsecondary.

The data collection of state exam scores, grades for the A-G Math Subject, internal assessments, and teacher course recommendations for all countywide districts is securely stored in the Merced County Office of Education’s centralized server. In the role of evaluator, the UC Merced CEP can access countywide data, download, clean, merge, and compile files for evaluation.

The Merced County P-16 Education and Community Council guiding principles:
a. Increase student achievement and access to rigorous coursework;
b. Develop and implement system-wide policies and practices;
c. Focus on seamless transitions between educational segments 0-5, K-12, IHE; and
d. Address systematic reform to barriers affecting access and achievement.

Madera County Compact for Success
The Madera County Compact for Success focuses primarily in improving middle school mathematics achievement, preparing students for STEM careers, and creating a college-going culture.

Equity & Access

The underlying focus of the P-20 Regional Alliances is to introduce partners to the growing body of work titled “Equity and Access,” which seeks to ensure that all students are given an equal opportunity to graduate with the greatest number of postsecondary choices from the widest array of options. While this has proven to be a challenging task due to the limited number of schools/districts willing to share data that might disclose unhealthy educational practices, the UC Merced CEP has continued to advance this body of work through the partnership with Fresno Unified School District and recently with the Sacramento City Unified School District.


Does the institution have policies and programs to support non-traditional students?:
Yes

A brief description of the institution’s scholarships provided specifically for part-time students:
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A brief description of the institution’s on-site child care facility, partnership with a local facility, and/or subsidies or financial support to help meet the child care needs of students:

UC Merced has an onsite licensed accredited child care facility serving children 6 weeks – 5 years. The Early Childhood Education Center (ECEC) has a capacity of 16 infants, 24 toddlers and 40 preschoolers. Priority for enrollment is for all UC Merced affiliations. Students (up to BA+24 units) who income qualify can apply for ACCESS (Merced County Child Care Subsidy), which will pay for their child care as long as meet their criteria. All students receive substantial discounted services, not income dependent. This discount is supported by the ECEC Student Fee that all UC Merced students pay during the fall and spring semesters.


A brief description of the institution’s other policies and programs to support non-traditional students:

Transfer, Returning and Veteran Scholars (TRV) comprises four main activities, for populations among University of California-Merced that show low rates of campus engagement, retention, and degree completion in a timely manner:

· TRV Institute, which includes year-round, intrusive interventions including personalized career coaching especially for non-traditional students, training to understand how to avoid plagiarism in the research university environment, leadership training, a free textbook lending library, skills workshops based on student-generated needs assessments.
· Exclusive TRV sections of Undergraduate Studies 010 College Success Course, previously restricted to freshmen only. This creates an experience of being a majority population, for individuals who are of an extreme minority campus-wide.
· On-demand tutoring, to facilitate scheduling for non-traditional students with complicated schedules.
· Community-building opportunities toward benefiting from a network of peer support.

Use of software for the tracking of student activity within the program, and for dissemination of student issues or needs to the proper constituencies, also is central to this program.

The key outcomes of the TRV program include incrementally increased rates of three-year degree completion for returning and transfer students, increased rates of three-year retention for the target populations, improved rates of returning (formerly dismissed) students completing their first term back in Good Academic Standing, heightened campus engagement compared to historical rates of transfer student involvement on campus, particularly with support services. This program is founded upon theories of student engagement, that correlate level of involvement with level of success.


Does the institution wish to pursue Part 2 of this credit (tracking accessibility and affordability)? (If data is not available, select 'No'):
Yes

The percentage of entering students that are low-income (0-100):
74

The graduation/success rate for low-income students (0-100):
60.70

On average, the percentage of need that was met for students who were awarded any need-based aid (e.g. as reported to the U.S. Common Data Set initiative, item H2) (0-100):
83.40

The percentage of students graduating with no interest-bearing student loan debt or for whom no out-of-pocket tuition is required (i.e. the percentage of graduates who have not taken out interest-bearing loans) (0-100):
33.70

Estimated percentage of students that participate in or directly benefit from the institution’s policies and programs to support low-income and non-traditional students (0-100):
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The website URL where information about the programs or initiatives is available:
Additional documentation to support the submission:
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The information presented here is self-reported. While AASHE staff review portions of all STARS reports and institutions are welcome to seek additional forms of review, the data in STARS reports are not verified by AASHE. If you believe any of this information is erroneous or inconsistent with credit criteria, please review the process for inquiring about the information reported by an institution and complete the Data Inquiry Form.