New Report: A Step Up: How Charter Schools Provide Higher Levels of California Public University Access

April 19, 2016

  • Print

April 19, 2016

Contact: Steven Baratte (on-site at press conference)
(619) 987-0010

Dannie Tillman
(213) 924-2439

(San Diego, CA) - Today, a new report released by the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA) has assembled a first-of-its kind dataset combining data from the University of California (UC) system, the Cal State University (CSU) system, and all California public high schools, which demonstrates that charter schools are helping increase access to college for thousands of historically disadvantaged youth in California, including minority, low income and first-generation college-going students.

Read the report.

"This new report demonstrates that charters are excelling at providing the critical educational acumen and strong preparation support needed for all of our students to attend college," said CCSA CEO Jed Wallace. "Moreover, it shows that the college-going culture and mission that guides many charter schools translates into results."

"A Step Up: How Charter Schools Provide Higher Levels of California Public University Access" details that by creating a college-going culture, charter schools are providing all students, regardless of background, access to higher education in California. For example, charters are closing the UC acceptance rate gap for under-represented students with African-American and Latino charter students almost twice as likely (19%) to apply to UCs as their traditional public school peers (11%). Additionally, charter schools serving majorities of low-income students have the highest acceptance rates of all: 21%! The acceptance rate at similar traditional schools is only 11%.

Secondly, charter schools are helping students achieve entry into higher levels of college education (16%) than they would have had they attended traditional public high schools (14%). More charter students who would have otherwise enrolled in CSUs are gaining entry into UCs. Similarly, more students who would have otherwise enrolled in community college are gaining entry into CSUs.

Finally, the report highlights that charter schools are closing the college preparation gap for historically disadvantaged student groups while raising the bar for all students. Charter high schools are providing a greater proportion of their students with college access (37%) through higher A-G subject requirement completion rates than their traditional school peers (24%).

"We have stopped the 'pipeline to prison' that once existed for students who entered this school and have opened a 'highway to college' for all students," said Vince Riveroll, director of Gompers Preparatory Academy.

These impressive findings support three policy recommendations:

  • Reinforce the need for access to A-G completion for all historically disadvantaged students as one of the starting points to ensure educational equity in college-going outcomes.
  • Improve data collection and availability of post-secondary data to facilitate additional research into what is working for charter schools and how to replicate their students' college and career readiness.
  • Open more high-quality, autonomous charters as a promising way to give our students a step up into higher levels of post-secondary education which will influence the trajectory of their lives.

Fact Sheet: A Step Up: How Charter Schools Provide Higher Levels of California Public University Access (English)

Fact Sheet: A Step Up: How Charter Schools Provide Higher Levels of California Public University Access (Spanish)

CCSA will be holding a press conference on Tuesday, April 19, 2016 from 9:30 am - 10:00 am at Gompers Preparatory Academy, 1005 47th Street, San Diego, CA 92102 to discuss the report in more detail.

Watch video highlights from the press conference.

About the California Charter Schools Association
The California Charter Schools Association's vision is to increase student learning by growing the number of families choosing high quality charter public schools so that no child is denied the right to a great public education. Our mission is to ensure a million students attend charter public schools by 2022, with charter public schools outperforming non-charter public schools on every measure. We do this by serving as the advocacy organization that builds the policy environment needed to grow as quickly as possible the number of students attending high quality charter public schools. For more information, please visit our website at