CSULB joins initiative to close the wealth gap of minority students

Published September 8, 2022

Cal State Long Beach was selected to join a consortium aimed at reducing the wealth gap in higher education for minority students through the Student Freedom Initiative.

The inclusion of The Beach and other universities expand the initiative's programming to meet the needs of students at Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs) and Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISIs).

Through a student-centric, evidence-based and holistic approach, the initiative looks to increase social and economic mobility designed to invest in future students of color become leaders. 

The goal of the initiative is to enable the upward social and economic mobility of students of color through integrated components. Initially focused on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, the Student Freedom Initiative focuses on three transformational components: 

  • An income-contingent fund as an alternative to Parent Plus and private loans
  • Internships and industry-driven certifications
  • Tutoring/Mentorships/Other Services

Student Freedom Initiative has collaborated with community-based organizations, businesses and governmental entities through public-private partnerships to make sustainable, systemic changes to support the entire HBCU ecosystem. Now, it will help other MSI- and HSI-serving universities, potentially impacting nearly 16,000 additional students. 

“The innovative programs of the Initiative are additional tools in our work to bring the transformative power of education to all,” said President Jane Close Conoley. “We applaud the Initiative and the investors who have stepped up to advance equity and support lasting social mobility for students at The Beach.” 

The additional funding through the Student Freedom (Initiative) will address the financial stress many minority college students face in college. In exchange for funding, eligible students agree to make payments based on what they earn after leaving college. All funds received are recycled back into the program, creating an endowment for students majoring in STEM. 

The initiative will provide 10,000 STEM graduates each year with up to $20,000 as an alternative to Parent Plus loans, and access to two paid internships. They also will receive comprehensive support, such as tutoring and counseling that could result in $200 million annually in additional earnings. 

The tutoring and mentoring will be offered through corporate partners and community-based organizations, which will provide a host of student-support resources, such as resume writing, interview and test-taking techniques. 

The Student Freedom Initiative also would provide students with internship opportunities, strategically designed to match students with employers.