The Mission of the Santa Barbara California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) is to increase the accessibility of the post-secondary educational opportunities for low-income, first-generation college-bound and/or underrepresented junior high and senior high students in the Santa Barbara South County. Cal-SOAP is committed to advising, informing and exposing students and their parents to post-secondary opportunities and resources.
Cal-SOAP was established by the State in 1978 to improve the flow of information about post-secondary education and financial aid while raising the college going rates of students who were historically underrepresented in post-secondary education. Working under the direction of the California Student Aid Commission, Cal-SOAP has successfully provided California students with vital information and services necessary to prepare for and gain admission to universities and colleges. Today, there are 15 Cal-SOAP projects that bring together school districts, public and private colleges and universities, community-based organizations and private sector partners to form a consortium.
Santa Barbara Cal-SOAP was created in 1984 to encourage a greater attendance of those who have been historically underrepresented in our communities’ post-secondary education population into California’s post-secondary institutions. Underrepresented groups can be defined as students who are low-income, first-generation to college and more recently, ANY student within a district or geographic region identified as having a low-eligibility or college participation rate. Santa Barbara Cal-SOAP currently serves the cities of Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria and works with 7th through 12th grade students with a specific focus on students who may lack the resources and information to adequately prepare them for post-secondary education. In addition to assisting students with academic support, Cal-SOAP strives to provide the information necessary for families to make empowered decisions regarding their child’s post-secondary endeavors.
Cal-SOAP works to support Parents/Guardians in becoming better equipped and capable advocates for their child by increasing their knowledge about college preparation and highlight the importance of becoming more involved in planning and preparation for the student’s post-secondary ambitions. Services to foster this empowerment include one-on-one advisement sessions, informative workshops and college preparation presentations. These services are an important part of helping to navigate the sometimes daunting and intimidating process of pursuing higher education. We make a great effort in answering questions and guiding our participants to the necessary resources to make transitioning from high school to post-secondary education as smooth and successful as possible. All advisement, classes, presentations and links to on-campus resources are free of cost and accessible to Junior High and High School community members.
Cal-SOAP has been a part of the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County since 2011 and continuously funded by the California Student Aid Commission.