Equity and Anti-Racism Statement for the Ventura College Foundation
We know that systemic racism has caused inequities, not all students begin their college careers with the same opportunities.
Of the 10,000 students attending Ventura College:
• 55% live under the poverty line
• 40% are first-generation college students
• 23% are served by the VC Basic Needs Office
• 18% are housing insecure
One of Ventura College Foundation's primary goals is to close opportunity gaps through scholarships, book lending programs, and other student support initiatives. We continually strive to improve our services to the college to embrace and support our diverse student populations.
We believe community colleges are in a unique position to make a significant impact on a student’s life and the quality of life for all in the community that we serve. A successful community college education is a starting point to a rewarding career or the next step in an educational journey. The Foundation is committed to ensuring that Ventura College is a safe and welcoming campus for students of all abilities, races, religions, genders, and sexual orientations and that every student is afforded equitable opportunities to succeed.
WHAT WE HAVE DONE TO CLOSE OPPORTUNITY GAPS IN THE DELIVERY OF OUR MISSION:
STUDENT AMBASSADOR PROGRAM
In 2017, we established a student ambassador program. Student ambassadors review our Foundation activities, make suggestions, and reach out to students to make them aware of how to access available financial assistance.
ASVC PRESIDENT IS A VOTING EX-OFFICIO MEMBER OF THE VENTURA COLLEGE FOUNDATION BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Each year, the Ventura College student body president plays an active role as a member of our board, providing a valuable voice and perspective. In the summer of 2020, we began an annual process whereby the ASVC President led the ASVC Leadership to review and edit our scholarship application to remove implied or explicit barriers to student success.
WORKING WITH KEY CAMPUS STAFF LEADERS WITH DEEP EXPERIENCE IN REMOVING BARRIERS TO SUCCESS
In 2020, we began an annual process whereby our scholarship application is reviewed by key leaders with deep experience in removing barriers. This year, a seasoned EOPS (Equal Opportunity Program and Services) counselor and the campus Financial Aid Officer reviewed and edited our scholarship application to remove implied or explicit barriers to student success. They have made key recommendations to guide our fundraising priorities and criteria development going forward.
IMPACT DATA IS IMPORTANT
In our strategic planning process, and in our annual evaluations of all of our student support programs, the board and staff review data. Data shows that we have successfully improved access to funding for students who come back to community college after a break of one year or more due to a variety of issues through our Phoenix Scholarship program. Additionally, our board has had success in removing some financial barriers for student recipients who are first-generation college students, have demonstrated financial need, and students with disabilities.
SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION, REVIEW, AND AWARDING PROCESS
Research and analysis have provided us with new and important steps to remove additional implicit, unconscious, and overt biases in our process. The steps taken include blind application review, more targeted outreach to student populations, and greater access to support for students in the application process.
FUTURE PLANS TO ADDRESS OPPORTUNITY GAPS IN OUR STUDENT SUPPORT PROGRAMS
Systematic barriers still exist throughout our society. Therefore, the board, staff, and volunteers will be intentional in our annual evaluation and planning to undo systematic racism and discrimination, to close opportunity gaps, and assess what new work needs to be done to remove barriers to student success across all campus populations.