NextUp Program Adds Colleges, Accolades Programs

July 30, 2018
NextUp program student, Ernesto

The California Community Colleges commitment to challenged and underserved populations continues, as the Board of Governors this month added four new colleges to the NextUp program.

The latest expansion comes on the heels of the announcement in May that 15 new colleges in six districts would be participating in the groundbreaking foster youth support program. Previously known as CAFYES (Cooperating Agencies Foster Youth Educational Support), the program now serves 45 total colleges, in each of California’s distinct regions.

NextUp provides support to current and former California foster youth in the form of books, supplies, childcare, career guidance, educational planning, food assistance and other services. Established in 2014 by an act of the California Legislature, the program seeks to promote academic success for current and former foster youth pursuing higher education at a California community college.

“Expanding this important program to more colleges will give more foster youth the tools they need to succeed in college and help them accomplish their higher educational goals,” said California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley.

For participants like Deon Barron, NextUp’s impact has been significant. “Five years ago, [I] wouldn’t have even thought about community college,” said Barron, a former foster youth and student at Sierra College. “NextUp just gave me an opportunity just to focus in school where I really want to put all my focus.

“A lot of people, no matter foster youth or not, say ‘school’s not for me,’ which I think is bogus. Education is for everybody.”

Recognition for Service to Foster Youth

The California Community Colleges efforts aimed at helping current and former foster youth, including through the NextUp program, received a prestigious award this month from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The Secretary’s Award for Public-Philanthropic Partnerships this month. The awards recognizes model partnerships between foundations and government organizations that have been instrumental in transforming communities and improving lives. The effectiveness of California Community Colleges partnership has led to significant accomplishmen, including:

  • Providing resources for staffing support to our Foster Youth Success Initiative.
  • Establishing a data sharing system with other public higher education segments to better serve foster youth.
  • Expanding the Chafee Employment and Training voucher program, the only publicly funded source of financial aid for foster youth.
  • Establishing the NextUp program, the first and only California sponsored post-secondary foster youth support program.

This work is supported by the work of our campus staff and faculty. CAFYES and EOPS staff members across the system have been partners in providing resources and support to foster youth and other underrepresented students.