The Oakland Promise

  • BY Cal State East Bay
  • June 1, 2016

California State University, East Bay is working with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD), Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf’s office and East Bay College Fund to triple the number of OUSD students who graduate from college within the next eight years. 

CSUEB President Leroy M. Morishita and 22 other college officials have signed the Declaration of Support for Oakland Promise College Pathways on Jan 28. Cal State East Bay will guarantee admission to every eligible Oakland student.

"I am a proud partner of the Oakland Promise and am committed to making higher education an attainable goal for every Oakland student," Morishita said.

The Oakland Promise is a pledge for all OUSD students to graduate high school with the expectation, resources and skills to complete college and enter the careers of their choice.

“This is the single most transformative thing we can do for Oakland and its young people,” Schaaf said. “In a district where 71 percent of students are low‐income, ensuring that more of our kids earn a college degree has the potential to interrupt generational poverty. Today, we’re raising the bar for this entire community by setting out a clear expectation for our children’s futures and giving them the tools and the support to exceed those expectations.”

Over the next decade, Oakland Promise plans to open 55,000 college savings accounts, provide $100 million in college scholarships and serve 200,000 students and families.

“For too many, economic growth has become a spectator sport and we know that income inequality is synonymous with barriers to educational opportunity,” said Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. “The Oakland Promise offers a model for the rest of the state, weaving together the best practices to tackle generational poverty in a way never done before.” 

The Oakland Promise has been endorsed by the Oakland City Council and Oakland School Board, 100 community organizations, two dozen university officials, and 200 leaders, including the Rev. Jesse Jackson, U.S. Under Secretary of Education Ted Mitchell and University of California President Janet Napolitano.

Oakland officials say they raised $25 million to launch the effort. Funding for the Oakland Promise will come from OUSD, the city of Oakland, and East Bay College Fund. Kaiser Permanente has pledged to give $3 million over three years and PG&E is giving $1 million over five years.