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CSU partners with churches to increase number of college-going Black students


With the goal of helping increase college access and achievement for underserved communities, Cal State L.A. President William A. Covino addressed the congregation at West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles on Feb. 23 during the annual CSU Super Sunday.

Covino joined dozens of California State University (CSU) presidents, trustees and university officials across the state who spoke to more than 100 African American churches in February.

“Young people need to know, especially today, that college is not just an option, but a rite of passage to opportunity—a privilege they need to take seriously,” said Covino. “Our message is one of encouragement. We tell boys and girls that they need to start aspiring to and preparing for college as early as the sixth grade. They need to sharpen their math, reading and writing skills early, as the foundations for success in middle school, high school, college, and careers.”

Launched in 2005, CSU Super Sunday is an annual event where leaders throughout the 23 CSU campuses work together to provide underrepresented students the tools needed to successfully enter college. To date, nearly 500,000 churchgoers have received information about financial aid, the CSU campuses, and how to achieve academic success in college.

“We want to build strong partnerships with teachers and parents and church leaders, to form a network of support and high expectations that motivates the youth of California to dream big and to work hard to achieve those dreams,” Covino said.

After the service, parents and students engaged with Cal State L.A. representatives, obtained the award-winning “How to Get to College” poster, and learned how to navigate—a website that helps students explore campuses and majors, as well as apply to the CSU.

Super Sunday is coordinated by the CSU African American Initiative (AAI), a partnership between CSU campuses and leaders in the African American community dedicated to increasing the number of students who attend and graduate from college. In addition to the AAI, the CSU has formed many other partnerships aimed at increasing educational opportunity for students of color and from underrepresented populations. These include initiatives for the Asian American and Pacific Islander, Latino and Native American communities.

For more information about the AAI and other community initiatives and programs, visit CSU External Relations.