News Release

Santa Ana Commits to Attainment Goal – Joins National Partnership

(Santa Ana) –Today Lumina Foundation announced that Santa Ana, Calif., will be among the first 20 cities in America to partner with Lumina Foundation in a mobilization effort designed to increase the number of local residents with postsecondary credentials. This collaborative effort will establish a community-wide attainment goal for Santa Ana and support Santa Ana partners in achieving that goal.  Partners will have access to significant technical and planning assistance, data tools, flexible funding and guidance from a network of national thought leaders.

“Our vision in Santa Ana is to have a college degree in every home by 2025. Our city, school district, university, parent, community, and business partners have joined forces to make our city a national model for collaboration and talent development—we are working together towards that exciting goal,” said Erlinda J. Martinez, Ed.D., president, Santa Ana College.

Santa Ana was selected to join in this mobilization effort because of the work the Santa Ana Partnership; Santa Ana College (SAC); Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD); California State University, Fullerton (CSU Fullerton); University of California, Irvine (UC Irvine); and the City of Santa Ana are doing to improve postsecondary attainment rates. Through this effort, Santa Ana will amplify existing momentum by partnering with Lumina – as well as other national groups – to develop an action plan to increase the percentage of local residents with high quality certificates, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees.

According to the U.S. Census, 164,221 adults between the ages of 25-64 years of age or 17 percent of the Santa Ana’s population hold some kind of college credential revealing that 83 percent have not earned a higher education degree. Currently, 38,884 households in Santa Ana have at least one higher education degree while 34,778 have none. To achieve the goal of one college degree in every home by 2025, approximately 2,777 additional higher education credentials per year need to be generated by Santa Ana residents.

“The City of Santa Ana helped to launch the Santa Ana Partnership and considers college completion to be a critical element of our future. There are currently 38,000 adults in our community who have started, but not finished college and another 46,000 who completed high school but never went on to college. We are committed to engaging with those members of our community and others to help make their dreams of a college degree come true,” said Miguel Pulido, Mayor, City of Santa Ana.

Since 2011, the Santa Ana ¡Adelante! Program has made significant strides in creating a college going culture in of Santa Ana.  The following accomplishments have been achieved thus far:

    • In 2000, 45 percent of SAUSD students placed in developmental math as compared to 19 percent today.
    • In 2000, 78 percent placed in developmental English as compared to 36 percent today.
    • Approximately, 5,000 students signed a college preparation pledge in 2012.
    • Higher Education Centers (HECs) have been created in all Santa Ana high schools. These HECs serve 10,000 high school students annually.
    • Approximately 8,500 students participate in pre-college-going activities annually.
    • College going has doubled since 2000 with more than 4,000 students annually completing college and financial aid scholarships.
    • The Partnership Scorecard, including data on college preparation, college going and college completion, is being finalized to reflect the pipeline to attainment for approximately 25,000 local students.
    • Some 3,000 students have received completion support since 2011 and are remaining in college at rates 15-20 percent higher than peers who are not taking part in the Santa Ana ¡Adelante! Program.
    • The Santa Ana College 100th anniversary scholarship campaign has resulted in $1 million raised this year in direct and endowed scholarships with $1/3 million awarded to students annually.
    • Santa Ana ¡Adelante! Program business partner Comunidad Latina has made over 300 no-interest micro-loans to support college completion.
    • Some 300 parents through the Padres Promotores de la Educación program reached out to 25,000 parents with a college completion training program.

“Research shows a direct correlation between thriving cities and education beyond high school,” said Jamie Merisotis, president and chief executive officer of Lumina. “Increased attainment delivers stronger local economies, greater individual earning power and better quality of life. Every community in America wants that, and we’ve designed this work to give leaders in Santa Ana and beyond the tools they need to be successful.”

Through the initiative, Santa Ana will be eligible for an allocation of $200,000 from Lumina over a three-year period. The allocation will be tied to the achievement of goals and the overall effort connects to Goal 2025, a national goal to increase the percentage of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent by the year 2025. The guidance offered to Santa Ana by national partners will be the most crucial part of the movement.

This new Santa Ana college degree attainment initiative will feature:

    • Business and community partners providing SAC students with service-based internships.
    • A linkage to veteran support programs to college completion.
    • College completion plans for all incoming SAC students, follow up with enrolled students to maximize completion, accelerate the awarding of financial aid, provide completion-centered mentoring, and set college-wide goals for course success, persistence, and completion.
    • SAUSD students who graduate and are all college-ready without the need for remediation, provide all students with high school plans that bridge to college, engage all faculty and staff in college-gong work, and involve parents in college-going plans at each school.
    • CSU Fullerton and UC Irvine maintaining college-going pipeline commitments, expanding retention supports for freshmen/transfer students from Santa Ana, and hosting/co-sponsoring completion programs and provide on-site training for college-going/completion peer mentors/parents.
    • The City of Santa Ana establishing Higher Education one-stop centers in libraries, the WORK center, and in community centers.

“This partnership model is a landmark opportunity for communities,” said Jeff Edmondson, managing Director of Strive Together in Cincinnati. “These cities will have the opportunity to work arm-in-arm with a national thought-leader to identify and build upon what is already working to improve higher education attainment rates in their own backyards.”

Project leaders from Santa Ana and the other 19 cities have already begun to participate in webinars with the national partners to prepare them for the upcoming months of strategic planning. Community representatives and project leaders are currently in Indianapolis for a two-day kick-off convening and workshop being led by Lumina.

“It is our hope that Lumina’s support can fan the flames that are already burning in our partnership cities, improving results there and showing cities across the country how this gets done and just how transformational education can be for communities’ social, economic and civic strength,” said Haley Glover, strategy director at Lumina Foundation heading up this work.

The national thought-leadership organizations that Santa Ana officials will have access to through this initiative include: American Chamber of Commerce Executives, Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions, Brookings Institution, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, DCA, Inc., Excelencia in Education, The Harwood Institute, Institute for Higher Education Policy, National League of Cities, OMG Center, Say Yes to Education Foundation, Strive Together, Talent Dividend and United Way Worldwide.

The other cities joining Santa Ana, Calif. in the first cohort of this initiative include: Albuquerque, N.M.; Boston, Mass.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Cincinnati, Ohio; Columbus, Ind.; Dayton, Ohio; Fort Wayne, Ind.; Greensboro, N.C.; Houston, Texas; Kalamazoo, Mich.; Louisville, Ky.; Memphis, Tenn.; Philadelphia, Pa.; Pittsburgh, Pa.; Providence, R.I.; Quad Cities, Iowa/Ill.; San Antonio, Texas; South Seattle, Wash., and Syracuse, N.Y.

About Lumina Foundation
Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025. For more information, log on to:

About Santa Ana College
Santa Ana College (SAC), which will turn 100 years old in 2015, serves about 18,000 students each semester at its main campus in Santa Ana. The college prepares students for transfer to four-year institutions, provides invaluable workforce training, and customized training for business and industry. In addition, another 13,000 students are served through the college’s School of Continuing Education located at Centennial Education Center. Ranked as one of the nation’s top two-year colleges awarding associate degrees to Latino and Asian students, the college is also recognized throughout the state for its comprehensive workforce training programs for nurses, firefighters, law enforcement and other medical personnel. SAC is one of two comprehensive colleges under the auspices of the Rancho Santiago Community College District. Visit to learn more.

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Contact: Judy Iannaccone

Phone: (714) 480-7503