Ninth-graders within the Vista Unified School District now have the opportunity to take advantage of a fast-track plan that guarantees admission to CSUSM for qualified students, thanks to an agreement established between the University and district administrators on September 17. In a special ceremony on Tuesday, CSUSM President Karen Haynes and VUSD Superintendent Devin Vodicka signed the Memorandum of Understanding that outlines the compact.

“Today we are affirming our commitment to educating the students of our region and to being stewards of change for our schools and our communities,” said Haynes. “We are partnering for a common good.”

A Roadmap to College Success

The MOU sets a structured roadmap to college success, improving university accessibility for Vista students.  It promises that all graduating seniors, from the class of 2017 and beyond, will receive guaranteed admission to CSUSM if they meet California State University (CSU) eligibility requirements and a minimum GPA of 3.0. Not only does this MOU guarantee admission to CSUSM but it helps students become college-ready, qualified to apply to any of the CSU system’s 22 other campuses.

As part of the agreement, CSUSM will assist in the creation of professional training opportunities for VUSD teachers, develop a parent and student orientation and visitation program for pre-collegiate advising, assist in the recruitment of CSUSM college students as tutors in VUSD middle and high schools, and will encourage CSUSM alumni to volunteer as speakers or mentors in District schools.

CSUSM’s MOU program began in 2006 when the University signed an agreement to establish a guaranteed admission program with the San Marcos Unified School District, known as the PACE Promise. Since then the University has signed ten other Memorandums of Understanding including the one today with VUSD — seven with school districts, three with organizations for former foster youth and one with a Native American tribe.

Approximately 435 students have come to CSUSM through the established agreements so far. These students have higher GPAs and retention rates and require less remediation, proving that the agreements are working.

“CSUSM firmly believes in the transformative effect education can have on families,” noted Haynes. “We know that our signing these MOUs is about more than institutions coming together; it’s about forging stronger relationships with parents, businesses and civic leaders. It’s about engaging with our region to ensure our students’ success — to ensure that students know what’s expected of them and how we as a region will support them. When our students earn their college degree and take that knowledge back to their neighborhoods, start businesses and become involved citizens, we all win.”

The Alliance to Accelerate Excellence in Education

Recently the Price Family Charitable Foundation agreed to provide CSUSM with $555,000 in initial funding over three years to address core, foundational goals of the University’s guaranteed admission initiative through a project called, The Alliance to Accelerate Excellence in Education.

The Alliance will help the University and school district partners create pipeline programs that will prepare students for college. It will also help parents and teachers know the steps they can take to ensure student achievement.

“CSUSM firmly believes in the transformative effect education can have on families,” noted Haynes. "When our students earn their college degree and take that knowledge back to their neighborhoods, start businesses and become involved citizens, we all win.”