College Access Foundation of California

  • CA


1 Front Street
Suite 1325
San Francisco
United States

About Us

The College Access Foundation of California is a private foundation committed to helping qualified low-income students in California who have financial need attend and graduate from college.

The College Access Foundation of California believes improving college achievement is central to California’s future and works to provide low-income and historically underrepresented students in higher education with the knowledge, resources, and tools they need to make that achievement possible. Established in 2005, the Foundation strives to make a difference for students who would not otherwise consider college, thereby investing in and securing a better future for all.

In order to expand its impact and help more qualified low-income students in California attend and graduate from college, the Foundation makes grants for need-based scholarships and program support to expand access to public financial aid, embed financial aid advising within institutions that serve students and their families, and increase the college persistence and graduation rates of low-income students.

In 2013, the Foundation organized its work into the three separate but overlapping areas and employing the following strategies:

  • Community Initiatives: Within particular communities and regions, support local public/private partnerships to foster systemic changes to improve college access and completion for low-income and underrepresented students.
  • Expanding Access to Financial Aid: Create the institutional infrastructure at high schools, districts, post-secondary institutions and within community-based organizations to help low-income students and their families know about, apply for and receive public financial aid.
  • Strategic Scholarships: Fund scholarships and programs that target low-income and under-represented populations, generate knowledge about effective practices, and expand local need-based scholarship giving.

The Foundation also funds cross-cutting, supporting activities, including: 1) statewide outreach, policy and communications activities that highlight issues and share results emerging from our three areas of work; and 2) technology platforms and tools that enable financial aid and college-knowledge information to be more accessible to low-income students. Through all of its work, the Foundation is committed to thoughtful, strategic grantmaking, informed by data-driven assessments of our impact and outcomes.

With an endowment of over $425 million, the Foundation’s annual grants budget is around $18 million.