A biweekly publication for faculty and staff

Le Grand High Students Challenged to Excel, Achieve

November 30, 2015

UC Merced staff members and administrators encouraged about 400 Le Grand High School ninth- through 12th-grade students to aim for a University of California education.

They visited the school Nov. 19 as part of Achieve UC, a systemwide effort to deliver a simple message to students: College, and a UC education, is within reach.

UC Merced’s interim Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Life Brian O’Bruba urged the students to see themselves as college material.

“The support you’ve received from your family, your counselors and your teachers has prepared you for this opportunity,” O’Bruba said. “And we’re here today to make sure that opportunity extends to UC.”

Students and their parents heard about the UC’s strong financial aid program, including a video message from UC President Janet Napolitano emphasizing that cost should never be a barrier to attendance.

UC's Blue and Gold opportunity plan, for example, covers the full cost of tuition for California students with family incomes of $80,000 or less. Other aid can help offset the cost of books, rent and other living expenses.

Director of Admissions and Outreach Encarnacíon Ruiz shared a story from his childhood to deliver the message that if students work hard and apply themselves, a UC education is attainable — no matter what obstacles they face.

"The time you invest now will be worth it,” Ruiz said. “The University of California is ready to prepare you (for your future), but you have to be ready.”

Staff members from the Center for Educational Partnerships were on hand, offering practical help with admissions requirements, writing effective personal statements and budgeting for college. And for those considering community college, they offered guidance on how to transfer to the UC. A special program for parents was offered in English and Spanish.

Now in its fourth year, Achieve UC encourages students to pursue higher education. The message that a UC degree is both attainable and affordable will reach about 6,500 students across California this fall and next spring.