About College Access Foundation of California


"We strive to make a difference for students who would not otherwise consider college."
Julia I. Lopez, president and CEO


The College Access Foundation of California is a private foundation committed to increasing the number of low-income students who attend and complete college across the state.  
 
We believe improving college achievement is central to preserving California’s future, and the Foundation works to provide low-income and historically underrepresented student populations with the knowledge, resources, and tools they need to make that achievement possible.  Our funding supports programs and organizations that offer college scholarships, financial aid advising, and specialized support services to these students.

Established in 2005 with assets from the sale of the nonprofit student loan company Chela Education Financing, Inc., the Foundation’s endowment is approximately $400 million.

Our Work

Each year, the Foundation awards grants to dozens of partner organizations across California.  This funding helps finance college scholarships for more than 4,000 low-income and historically underrepresented students and supports efforts to help even more students enroll in college and graduate.  

The Foundation awards grants for program support and scholarship funding to organizations that share our commitment to advancing the following strategies:

  • Improving financial aid advising: Low-income students face significant economic barriers to college, and many have limited access to information about financial aid.  The Foundation funds and supports organizations with the ability to help significant numbers of low-income students obtain public financial aid.

  • Helping more students complete the FAFSA: Completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) opens numerous opportunities for low-income students to qualify for public financial aid.  The Foundation funds and supports efforts to help more students understand and complete the FAFSA in high schools or school districts with significant low-income student populations.

  • Providing more support services for college students: Low-income and first-generation students often lack the support systems they need to successfully transition to college and graduate.  The Foundation funds and supports efforts to implement innovative and collaborative tools, resources, and programming that bolster support services to increase graduation rates among these student populations.

Our Grantmaking Blueprint

To learn more about the Foundation’s grantmaking, read Broadening Our Approach and Expanding Our Impact, a blueprint for the Foundation’s work. This blueprint illustrates our efforts to reach more students through broader grantmaking strategies. Read the blueprint.