Public Affairs

CSU and Church Partners Provide a Gateway to College through Summer Algebra Institutes

Effort targeted at closing the achievement gap and improving college-going rates
for underrepresented students


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CSU Contact: Erik Fallis, (562) 951-4800, mobile (562) 477-7317

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(July 17, 2009) – Hundreds of junior high school students are going to church to learn algebra. The California State University has partnered with churches to conduct 15 Summer Algebra Institutes in regions of high need throughout the state. The primary objective is to help  pre-9th grade students from underrepresented communities meet or exceed grade level understanding of math concepts.

"The algebra institutes are helping students overcome one of the largest hurdles to gaining college acceptance: math skills," said Tony Ross, vice president of student affairs for California State University, Los Angeles and coordinator of the CSU African American Initiative. "Math skills are an access issue and a key to prosperity. With a solid foundation in math, students will have more career options when it comes to the fastest growing sectors of our economy – including jobs in research, technology, engineering and medical services."

Many of the students participating in the institutes are in school districts that have cancelled or limited summer school due to the state budget crisis. Even though the CSU is also facing budget reductions, the system has committed to continue and expand its efforts to provide access to students in the African American community.

Through the CSU African American Initiative, top university leaders visited 70 northern and southern California churches in February to spread the college-going message as part of Super Sunday. The system office has also worked with churches to provide admissions counseling training to youth ministers and coordinators.

As one of the most visible signs of continuing support by the CSU, the number of Summer Algebra Institutes has increased five-fold, from three last year to 15 this year. Institutes will be hosted by northern and, this year for the first time, southern California churches.

"Our commitment to diversity in higher education is enduring and fundamental to the CSU mission," said Jacqueline Mimms, associate vice president for enrollment management at California State University, Bakersfield. "Too many students are not ready for college after high school graduation. Students need to be prepared for, and aware of, college eligibility requirements while they still have a chance to make critical choices."

Students who take rigorous courses in high school, especially in math, are often the most successful during college. The Summer Algebra Institutes not only improve math skills, but are designed to give students the confidence to take on more challenging classes in high school and to succeed in college.

Locations and Dates

Bakersfield, CA
Compassion Christian Center, July 6 through August 7

Carson, CA
Glory Christian Fellowship, June 22 through August 7

Fairfield, CA
St. Stephens CME Church, July 6 through August 14

Fremont, CA
South Bay Community Church, June 29 through July 31

Hayward, CA
Glad Tidings Church of God, June 29 through July 31
My Brothers' Keeper at CSU East Bay, June 29 through July 31

Inglewood, CA
Faithful Central Church, July 6 through August 10

Los Angeles, CA
Grant AME Church, July 6 through August 14
Ward AME Church, July 6 through August 14
West Angeles Church of God, July 6 through August 14

Oakland, CA
Acts Full Gospel Church, June 29 through July 31
Allen Temple Baptist Church, June 29 through July 31
Oakland Professional Development Center, June 29 through July 31

Pittsburg, CA
First Baptist Church at Pittsburg High School, June 29 through July 31

Richmond, CA
Ennis Chapel, June 29 through July 31

San Bernardino, CA
Temple Missionary Baptist, June 29 through August 7


About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 450,000 students and 46,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded nearly 2.5 million degrees, about 90,000 annually. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California.