2020 Grants Challenge

College Success

College Success provides enhanced support to high school upperclassmen and college students. This program, beginning in the 11th grade and following students until they graduate college, ensures academic success as students navigate college admission and attendance, stewarding them through to degree attainment.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

South Bay

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

Although we are not applying for a collaboration grant, OJS believes that collaboration is key to providing the best services while maximizing our resources. We have long standing partnerships with the Long Beach Unified School District and The City of Long Beach. For over 10 years, we have partnered with California State Universities at Long Beach, Dominguez Hills and Northridge who provide us with the master’s level social work interns that provide our mental health services, in 2014 Simmons College became a partner in this program. For more than a decade, we have been active in the Southern California College Access Network (SO CAL CAN). Since 2016, in partnership with All Ways Up, we have secured VISTA volunteers each year to assist us within our development and program departments.

What is the need you’re responding to?

OJS is witness to the ongoing unmet need for college access programs and services for middle school, high school, and college students in Long Beach. Our organization seeks to improve and change the lives of promising youth from Long Beach’s most disadvantaged and underserved neighborhoods, that have a dream to attend and graduate from a college or university. The students enrolled in OJS are among Long Beach’s most vulnerable and are representative of the educational crisis facing the state of California. Although the graduation rates have significantly improved in Long Beach for our population, many who graduate are not properly prepared to pursue a college education. As evidenced by recent results of the 2017 California Assessment of Student Progress Test, less than 30% of economically disadvantaged 11th grade students in Long Beach meet or exceed expected standards in English and only 8% score proficient or advanced in Math (California Department of Education, 2018).

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

The College Success program addresses the needs of low income, first generation college students. In 2010 the program served less than 20 students, in the 2019-2020 academic year we served 146 students. Our expansion goal is to increase the number of students served to 300. The program uses a two-fold approach to assist our vulnerable students as they work towards the goal of a college degree. The first is to fully prepare current high school students for challenges they will face gaining admission and preparing to begin their college education and to support them throughout this stressful process. Once college admission is obtained, the program is there to provide individualized case management to meet the specific needs of each college student. Our students outperform other students of similar socioeconomic backgrounds in their attendance at four-year colleges immediately following high school, their college graduation rates and their overall persistence rates in higher education.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 220

Indirect Impact: 650

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Every single program participant has received an on-time high school diploma, 95% of those students immediately went on to college. 93% of our students have either achieved a bachelor’s degree or are still enrolled in college. Almost 1/3 of our students are siblings of current or former students, as the entire family reaps the benefits of increased security and income from a college degree and parents are eager to see other children follow suit.

Many of our students return to Long Beach following college and all most all of them choose to live in Los Angeles County. Upon graduation they become active members and leaders of our community. An investment in OJS is an investment in the future of Los Angeles.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

By creating a chance at a college education, OJS offers a path out of poverty for first- generation students of Long Beach so that they may not only succeed academically, but also in life. Our ultimate marker for success is degree attainment. The comprehensive interventions of OJS have proven successful over time, our students 6-year bachelor’s degree attainment rate is 75%, which is 25% higher than the national average as reported by the Pell Foundation.

The specific program goals for the 2020-2021 academic year are as follows:

* 100% of OJS high school students will complete all grade level courses needed for admission into colleges and universities in California (called a-g requirements).

* Students completing the SAT preparatory course will show an average increase of a minimum of 75 points.

* 95% of OJS high school graduates will begin post-secondary education in the fall semester immediately following high school graduation.

* 90% of high school graduates will begin their education at a 4-year college or university.

* 85% of the College Success participants will obtain a bachelor’s degree within 6 years of beginning their college education.

* 90% of College Success participants will successfully complete their first year and return to college for a second year.

Which of the LEARN metrics will your submission impact?​

College graduates

College matriculation

High school graduation rates

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Host public events or gatherings

Communications support

Office space for meetings, events, or for staff