Thomas Parham, UC Irvine’s vice chancellor for student affairs, will visit Santa Ana Valley High School at 10 a.m. on Thursday,Oct. 18, as part of Achieve UC, a program designed to deliver a simple message to California students: You are college material.

The goal of the effort, which targets schools in historically under-resourced communities, is to inspire youths to aim for college and arm them with the information they need to get there.

“Our task is to inspire the next generation to actualize their talents and potential in pursuing higher education,” Parham said. “Indeed, access to higher education is the civic rights issue of our time, and we need students to know that the University of California is the path that can take them from where they are now to where they dream about being.”

Under the program, UC President Mark G. Yudof and chancellors and senior leaders from various UC campuses will speak the same day at high schools across California.

“I’ve visited high schools up and down the state, and it’s always exciting to see students learn about the financial support that exists and discover that a University of California education is attainable,” Yudof said. “If they push themselves, work hard and dream big, we’ll make sure the doors of opportunity are open to them. We want their talents, their passion and their perspectives.” Achieve UC is expected to reach about 10,000 high school freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors over a two-week period. Beyond hearing from UC leadership, they’ll learn about scholarships and programs intended to make college affordable for all Californians – such as UC’s Blue & Gold Opportunity Plan, which covers the full cost of tuition for students whose families earn $80,000 a year or less.

They’ll also meet with UC advisers and receive customized assessments of college readiness that highlight specific courses they need to complete to be eligible for admission to California’s public four-year universities or, alternately, transfer into these schools from a community college.

These personalized “road maps” are designed to reach students at a critical juncture in their high school career, giving them time to take the courses necessary to prepare for postsecondary education. Achieve UC builds on programs the University of California already has in high schools across the state to help put students on a path to college.

“One or two courses at this stage can make a huge difference in a student’s future,” said Yvette Gullatt, UC executive director of education partnerships. “Once students realize that they’re on track – or close to on track – with their coursework, they’ll often apply themselves to their studies, sign up to take the SAT and be inspired to see college as a part of their future.”

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and
community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit

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