On April 30, L.A City Mayor Eric Garcetti, in partnership with the L.A. Compact, launched COVID College Connect to support L.A.’s graduating high school class of 2020 in navigating their college options and addressing their enrollment concerns during these uncertain times. Over one hundred students signed up to get help within hours of the initiative’s launch. Check out this five minute video of the mayor announcing COVID College Connect here.
In a typical school year, this would have been the time when high school seniors are thinking about graduation and choosing which college or university to attend in the fall. National College Decision Day, which falls on May 1, is the traditional deadline for students to commit to a college or university. However, for the class of 2020, the coronavirus pandemic has upended many students’ decisions of where, and if, to go to college at all. The virus has also disproportionately affected students of color, students living in poverty and immigrant students. Many of them are taking on new roles as primary earners for their families or caregivers for younger siblings, and they are taking these factors into consideration as they decide to move forward with or put on hold their dreams to go to college. In response, Mayor Garcetti launched COVID College Connect to help students make informed decisions about their future education plans and to urge local colleges and universities to provide students with some added flexibility as they decide what to do next.
The L.A. Compact has played a critical role in the roll-out of the initiative. L.A. high school seniors can share their concerns about their future college plans by completing this simple form on the L.A. Compact website. Staff from the Mayor’s office and UNITE-LA, the convener of the L.A. Compact, have already reached out to students who had to select their college or university of choice by May 1. College advisors at the city’s FamilySource Centers will contact the remainder of students residing in the City of L.A. using an interview tool developed by UNITE-LA and the Mayor’s office. Students with additional needs, like housing and food access, will be connected with the appropriate city resources. The LA Cash for College campaign, powered by UNITE-LA, also developed a College FAQ and FAFSA tips sheet to share with students. The Mayor’s office and UNITE-LA will continue to closely monitor student responses to determine what additional supports are needed as students start school in the fall.
In addition to providing programmatic support, UNITE-LA has leveraged its partnerships with the local public and private colleges and universities that are members of the L.A. Compact to encourage these higher education institutions to provide students with additional options, such as delaying or waiving admission fees and extending student deadlines to commit. The L.A. Compact also aims to leverage its partnerships with county institutions, like the Los Angeles County Office of Education, to expand the reach of COVID College Connect beyond the City of L.A.’s boundaries, so that all college bound students in the county can benefit from this initiative.
The L.A. Compact is very excited to partner with Mayor Garcetti in helping the class of 2020 navigate this difficult moment and stay on the path to higher education and a brighter future. Our high school seniors have worked hard to get to this point, and as they think about their future, we want them to know that they are not in this alone. The L.A. Compact stands ready to bring area leaders together to support the class of 2020 in realizing its college dreams.
For more information about COVID College Connect, please contact Adam Gottlieb, Senior Manager of Postsecondary Initiatives with the L.A. Compact, at [email protected].
In addition to COVID College Connect, UNITE-LA is committed to providing scholarship resources and aid to ensure COVID-19 doesn’t cause any of L.A.’s youth to put their dreams on hold. If you would like to help a student go to college this fall, please consider making a donation to UNITE-LA’s COVID-19 Response Scholarship Fund here. 100% of donations will go to scholarships for students in need.