Students + Campus

Dream Fund provides $2.5M to promote college access, success for underprivileged students

Helping to ensure access and opportunities for high-performing students from underprivileged backgrounds, a unique philanthropic partnership is providing $2.5 million to support three summer programs designed to encourage a college-going culture and pave the way to academic success.

Campus officials estimate that more than 500 students over the next three years will benefit from funding for three rigorous summer programs sponsored by the Academic Advancement Program (AAP), which promotes academic achievement and excellence through counseling, special leadership programs and collaborative learning workshops.

"This support will enable us to continue to have a profound impact by helping deserving students with limited financial and educational resources achieve their dream of earning a UCLA degree, and launching future leaders in graduate and professional programs," said Judith Smith, dean and vice provost of the UCLA Division of Undergraduate Education, which oversees AAP. "The hopes of many underserved youth — many of whom are the first in their family to attend college — will be realized as they enter pathway programs that will foster their success in applying to attend UCLA and earning a degree."

The funding was made available through the Dream Fund, a unique philanthropic partnership established in February 2011 by UCLA and The Lincy Foundation, which transferred approximately $200 million in assets to be managed by The UCLA Foundation. The Dream Fund's emphasis is on supporting research and academic and health care programs, as well as on- and off-campus causes that address societal concerns, such as access to higher education.

The funding will support three summer programs — one that brings incoming freshmen and one that brings transfer students to campus to ease the transition before their first fall term, and a third called the VIP Scholars program, which, in partnership with the Los Angeles and Pasadena school districts, helps prepare historically underserved high school students for admission to competitive four-year universities such as UCLA.

In addition to general support, the funding will provide scholarships that, together with other forms non-university aid, will fully cover the costs for approximately 500 students over the next three years to attend the summer programs. Eligibility for AAP programs is based on a wide range of factors.

"All three are residential programs where students live on campus for the first time, complete challenging UCLA courses and participate in workshops designed to facilitate their pathway to academic success," said Charles Alexander, UCLA associate vice provost for undergraduate education and director of the Academic Advancement Program. "We plan to leverage the gift to raise more external support for these innovative and critical programs."   

The VIP Scholars program focuses on students from underserved high schools that do not provide sufficient college-access information to adequately prepare students for college.

Ashley Williams, a fourth-year UCLA student from Los Angeles' Dorsey High School and a VIP Scholar alumna, credits the program for helping her earn admission to UCLA and contributing to her academic success on campus.
"VIP Scholars encouraged me to think of myself as a scholar and dream about completing my bachelor's degree and applying for graduate school," said Williams, a former AAP McNair Research Scholar who plans to pursue a law degree after graduation.  

The Freshman and Transfer Summer Programs, known as F/TSP, focus on preparing new UCLA students to succeed amid rigorous academic expectations.
"In FSP, I learned to study and developed better writing skills," said Tr'Vel Lyons, a second-year UCLA student from New Orleans majoring in philosophy. "When the fall term started, I really felt prepared and ahead of the game."
One of the goals of the Dream Fund is to encourage philanthropy for campus and other programs that serve society. For more information on giving, visit the UCLA Foundation and Dream Fund sites.

UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of more than 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer 328 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Six alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
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