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AICCU Counselor Conferences Empower Counselors to Guide Students to a Private Higher Education



The Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities (AICCU) kicked off the first event in its regional counselor conference series yesterday at the University of Pacific, in Stockton. These events are the first of their kind for California nonprofit institutions and were highly requested from community college counselors who said they wanted increased engagement with AICCU institutions to learn more about the nonprofit higher education sector for their students seeking regional access.

Over 80 high school and college counselors met with representatives from nine of our institutions: Harvey Mudd College, Life Pacific University, Mills College at Northeastern University, Occidental College, Saint Mary’s College of California, Samuel Merritt University, San Francisco Bay University, Santa Clara University, and University of the Pacific. They attended sessions on admissions, financial aid, and student services. They also had the opportunity to meet with their fellow counselors across the region and discuss the unique issues impacting their field.

“AICCU recognizes the critical role that counselors play in shaping students' academic journeys,” said AICCU President Kristen Soares. “The conferences promise to be an insightful platform for sharing knowledge, networking, and collaborating towards a common goal of guiding students towards a bright future. We know California’s independent colleges will serve students well with our small class sizes and robust student supports.”



Tenisha Thomas, a counselor from Patterson High School, has students who prefer smaller classes and would match well with an AICCU institution. Thomas attended the event to learn more about what California private colleges and universities offer, such as degree programs, financial aid opportunities, admissions, and transfer opportunities.

“I was able to talk with the representatives, gather information about their schools and understand that it's not above reach—it's something that could potentially be for you.” Thomas said. “Some students really want those small, 11-to-1 [student to faculty] ratio schools, and not sitting in a consortium of like 800 people. So, knowing that this is something that [AICCU institutions] offer, I can appropriately advise my students in a lot of things they get concerned about, like financial aid.”

The conference series is part of the California Private College is Possible Initiative (CPCP), with the goal of creating joint resources to recruit and support lower-income students to enroll in private, nonprofit California institutions. CPCP launched in March with nine institutions and has since grown to 40 institutions. The initiative aims to help clarify the admissions and financial aid processes and provide a centralized resource for discovering opportunities at private institutions throughout our state.

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