Libby Schaaf
Former Mayor | Oakland, CA

Opportunity Changes Everything: Realizing the College Dream for Oakland Youth

Idea Category: Education


Gentrification and systemic racism are major obstacles to college and career success for many Medi-Cal eligible families in Oakland. Before the COVID-19 crisis, only 15% of Oakland students who started 9th grade completed college five years after high school graduation. Over the past year, the pandemic has further exacerbated access to educational and economic opportunities for deserving BIPOC youth, and Black males in particular: according to data released by the National Student Clearinghouse in November 2020, colleges saw a decline of 7.5% in enrollment for Black students, the highest of any other group. Furthermore, 56% of Black students who remained enrolled in college said it was “likely” or “very likely” that the pandemic would affect their ability to persist. 


Through targeted interventions across the cradle-to-career continuum, Oakland Promise supports students furthest from opportunity by building pathways to postsecondary education, improving school climate, and tackling intergenerational poverty. Oakland Promise is available to young learners and their families who reside in Oakland.  Our mission is to advance equity and economic mobility through cradle-to-college and career achievement.  Our student and family facing services are unique because they start earlier and go later than those of other Promise programs. We offer every child the financial resources, support, mentorship, and incentives they need from birth and throughout their school years to empower them to seek out and thrive in the higher education and career of their choosing. Through programs targeted at each stage of a young person’s development, we offer College Savings Accounts, Oakland Promise Scholarships, guidance for students and parents, and other critical resources to encourage students to develop their college and vocational bound identity and persistence. Our holistic educational supports blend asset building with scholarships and additional resources as part of our programmatic continuum from birth to college and career.

More Idea’s From Libby Schaaf

Mayor Libby Schaaf: Education Investments to Change Lives

Idea Category: Education, Equity & Opportunity | Funding Source: ARP


Idea Category: Broadband, Equity & Opportunity | Funding Source: ARP

Keys to Equity: Building ADUs for Oakland

Idea Category: Equity & Opportunity, Housing | Funding Source: ARP

Mobile Mayor

Idea Category: Smart Government | Funding Source: ARP