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About Cal-SOAP



Established by the California state legislature in 1978, the prevailing mission of the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) is to educate, empower, and encourage students and their families to access all opportunities to higher education. Our vision encompasses a strong collaborative effort between elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities to ensure that students succeed personally, as well as academically.

Today, Cal-SOAP is instrumental in promoting information about postsecondary education and financial aid, while raising the achievement levels of elementary and secondary school students, especially those who are recognized first-generation college students, from low-income families, or testare from geographic regions with documented low-college participation rates.

Cal-SOAP projects operate in seventeen locations throughout the state by consortia made up of secondary and postsecondary schools and community agencies, including:

  • Ninety-seven public school districts & fifty-one individual high schools;
  • Nine of the UC campuses;
  • Eighteen of the CSU campuses;
  • Thirty-nine of the state's community colleges;
  • Seventeen of the Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities members;
  • and forty-seven other community-based organizations.

Because each project specializes in serving students within its community, the type of programs and services may differ. However, the projects share the common goal of helping thousands learn about local, state, and federal college aid programs. Common services provided include advising, tutoring, parent outreach, and college awareness workshops.

Other Cal-SOAP projects include: Central Coast (Santa Maria), Central Valley (West Fresno County), East Bay (Oakland and Richmond), Greater Long Beach Region, Los Angeles, North Coast (Eureka), North Valley (Yuba), Sacramento College Horizons, San Diego/Imperial, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, South Coast (Whittier), South County Gilroy, South San Joaquin, and SUCCESS (Solano).

Cal-SOAP Services

Cal-SOAP Merced works to accomplish its goals by providing the following academic and advisement services with students and parents:

  • Personal statements
  • Four systems of education
  • College applications
  • Financial aid & loan counseling
  • Scholarships
  • Transferring from a 2-year school to a 4-year school
  • Potential careers

In addition, students have the opportunity to participate in many local events held throughout the school year and summer sessions, designed to increase awareness about the many aspects of seeking higher education.