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Chancellor’s Message to High School Students: A UC Education is Affordable

At Mission Bay High School students had the opportunity to meet with UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla where he talked about the important role college can play in a student’s life as part of this year’s “Achieve UC” event. Photos by Erika Johnson/ University Communications

Every qualified student who wants to go to college can and should go, regardless of family income. That was the message conveyed by UC San Diego Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla to hundreds of high school students Thursday.

Khosla visited two local high schools—Clairemont and Mission Bay—as part of Achieve UC, a University of California initiative to show students that a UC education is affordable, and that they shouldn’t rule out college because of financial concerns.

When Khosla asked students gathered in the Mission Bay High School auditorium how many thought they could not afford to go to college, many students raised their hands.

“None of you should be thinking that,” he told the group. “You cannot afford to not go to college.”

Khosla said UC San Diego annually gives out about $350 million in financial assistance to thousands of students. Approximately 65 percent of the campus’s students receive need-based financial aid, and nearly 44 percent of students receive the Pell Grant.

Khosla said that as an American citizen, he wants all students to go to college; and as chancellor, he wants all students to consider UC San Diego.

UC San Diego staff and students worked with Mission Bay High School students on crafting a successful admissions essay.

“It is my job as chancellor to make sure UC San Diego is one of the best universities in the country. It is also my job to make sure that you—our kids, our sons and our daughters—have access to an affordable higher education. If you work hard and do your part academically, we are ready and able to help you succeed at UC San Diego.”

Following Khosla’s address, Interim Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Alan Houston encouraged students to think about going to college not just for financial reasons, but also as part of their personal growth.

“It is true that your lifetime earning potential is substantially higher if you go to college,” Houston said. “But that is just part of the story. “At college you learn new ideas and develop new skills. You are also challenged to make a difference in the world. The future of our communities, our state and our nation, rests in the hands of the next generation of college students.”

Colton Titmas, a 2011 graduate of Mission Bay High who wants to become a math teacher, said he chose UC San Diego because it was a good school and was “economically viable” for him.

This marked the second year that UC leaders and admission counselors visited high school across the state as part of Achieve UC. In all, about 10,000 students were encouraged to aim for college and offered practical guidance on how to get there.

In addition to having the opportunity to hear from Khosla and Houston about the important role college can play, students at both Mission Bay and Clairemont high schools participated in workshops about why they should go to college, how to prepare for college, how to write a personal statement and how to apply for financial aid. Also, UC advisers were on hand to offer explain what students need to do to be eligible to attend one of California’s public universities.

As part of the Achieve UC event, Mission Bay High School students participated in a financial aid workshop and had the opportunity to talk with current students about college life.

Throughout the event, Khosla underscored the importance for UC San Diego to maintain and enhance its partnerships with San Diego County's public school districts. In addition, he stressed the campus’s commitment to remaining affordable and accessible to students of all backgrounds.

In his first year as chancellor, Khosla established the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program. The scholarship, which was announced in spring 2013, is designed to help make a UC San Diego education a reality for students from three local high schools that work with historically underserved communities: Gompers Preparatory Academy, Lincoln High School and The Preuss School UCSD.

Chancellor’s Associates Scholars, who must be eligible for UC’s Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan, receive $10,000 per year to cover additional costs including books, transportation and living expenses—essentially providing a full ride scholarship to attend UC San Diego.

For more information on the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarships, go to the Chancellor’s Associates website.