Bright Minds

By on Jun 12, 2018 in Giving, People

California faces a dramatic shortfall of college-educated workers. According to the Public Policy Institute of California, by 2030, the state will be more than a million bachelor’s degrees short of what its innovation economy requires to thrive.

In other words, if every college and every university in the state of California continues to graduate students at the current rate, the state will still be more than 1 million degrees short of what employers need.

California State University Channel Islands (CSUCI) is positioned to help meet the needs of the state’s growing economy. The university has committed to addressing that shortfall by serving a largely first generation, underserved student population.

CSU Channel Islands’ Solution

“CSUCI is about access to education. We believe that we play a pivotal role in equity and social mobility for vulnerable populations with in our region, state, and our nation,” says Nichole Ipach, Vice President for University Advancement.

The large majority of the university’s populations come from first generation, underserved, low-income, and underrepresented groups. Such populations are critical to filling the state’s need for college-educated workers.

“Serving these populations is at the heart of our mission at CSUCI. In fact, CSUCI was ranked 18th in the nation for social mobility just this year,” says Ipach.

The student population at CSUCI is 50 percent Hispanic, where 60 percent are the first generation in their families to go to college. About 80 percent of students are qualified for financial aid, creating tremendous social mobility opportunities for graduates.

Student Focus Leads to Statewide Success

George Leis, the President of Montecito Bank and Trust and the currently the CSUCI Foundation Board Chair, has been a proud member of the CSUCI Foundation Board for almost 10 years. Over that time, he watched the university change the lives of thousands of students.

Leis credits a combination of factors for the success of CSUCI Foundation, but the final takeaway is this: “All of the good things that the University has done has been a result of us never taking our eye off the fact that the student experience always comes first,” says Leis.

Leis continues, “CSUCI has a demonstrated track record of success and takes the time to work with the community to help fill important needs. I feel that the heart of our University is that we make the student experience central to everything that we do.”

Zohar Ziv, former COO of Deckers and a member of the CSUCI Foundation Board adds, “Our students want to remain in our area and are a great source of qualified employees for business in our region. My goal is to assist them, to find these opportunities and be the bridge between the university and the local business community.”

CSU Channel Islands Foundation

Rogelio Luna-Mendez

For many students, a portion of that bridge comes through the scholarship program. Local businesses and organizations such as Yardi donate funds to make scholarships available to students in need. In the 2017-2018 fiscal year, CSUCI Foundation awarded 210 scholarships for a total of $456,608.

Rogelio Luna-Mendez, a sophomore, is a recipient of the CSUCI Yardi Foundation Scholarship. To maintain eligibility, Luna-Mendez has sustained a 3.00 cumulative GPA, full-time student status with a minimum of 12 units, and good standing with the University.

“The Yardi Foundation Scholarship has created a better and more tranquil environment for my student life. It has supported focused and dedicated time to the school duties and tasks,” says Luna-Mendez.

He continues, “[The scholarship] has made me feel proud of myself for being able to achieve recognition from a great organization like the Yardi Foundation. The fact that they saw something about me that they considered worthy of such award has made me feel privileged and confirmed that I am on the right path for reaching my goals.”

To support CSUCI students in their pursuit of brighter future, give to CSUCI. Learn more about Yardi’s philanthropy on the Giving Page.