Stockton Mayor wants you to go to college

A fantastic announcement from Stockton Mayor Michael Tubbs at the Bob Hope Theater today: Stockton Scholars will provide scholarship money to every student who decides to go to college or trade school, starting with the SUSD class of 2019. I wrote this story for the University of the Pacific newsroom after attending the event.

Hundreds of area high school students and local officials packed Bob Hope Theater in Stockton on Jan. 16 for a special event where the mayor announced a new initiative to increase the number of youth who earn a college degree.

Mayor Michael Tubbs said he secured a $20 million grant to launch “Stockton Scholars,” a new program modeled after similar successful endeavors in cities like Long Beach and Oakland. Tubbs said the goal of this new city-wide scholarship program is to triple the number of Stockton students who both enter and graduate from college over the next decade – and retain them in the community. Through Stockton Scholars the city is providing students in the Stockton Unified School District with scholarships focused on local institutions, including University of the Pacific.

“I firmly believe that talent and intelligence are universal, but resources and opportunities are not. Stockton Scholars is born out of that belief,” Tubbs told the audience. “In many ways, my story parallels that of Stockton’s. Statistically speaking, as a young black man born and raised in South Stockton, it was highly unlikely for me to attend college and much less become Mayor. I am proof of the positive returns that come in investing in young people and their future. This is a big part of our push to increase degree attainment in Stockton and also to give our people real hope.”

To help launch the Stockton Scholars program the California Community Foundation provided an initial $20 million grant with the long-term goal of raising a total of $100 million to sustain the scholarship program, Tubbs said. The program will start by providing scholarship assistance in 2019 to every qualified student in Stockton Unified School District who graduates with a 2.0 grade-point average and decides to attend a trade school, community college or four-year university.

The launch event included a career fair in the lobby of the theater where high school students could learn more about degree programs at local colleges, including University of the Pacific.

“University of the Pacific celebrates the mayor’s priority of ensuring that our youth dream big, excel in high school, and continue their education,” said Stacy McAfee, Pacific’s associate vice president for external relations. “We are committed to ensuring that these young people have the mentorship and support to pursue and finish their education and are thrilled to support the mayor’s progress in attracting more financial resources for higher education in Stockton.”

The Stockton Scholars launch event was covered by numerous local media outlets including:

The Record: “Tubbs: $20M program will boost college-going culture
Capital Public Radio: “Stockton Receives $20 Million Donation For Financial Aid
ABC 10:Stockton’s mayor announces $20 million donation to send high school students to college

To learn more about the Stockton Scholars program visit www.stocktonscholars.org

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