Mission and History


Our Mission

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 Santa Barbara, Goleta and Carpinteria. Cal-SOAP is committed to advising, informing and exposing students and their parents to post-secondary opportunities and resources.

Our History

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 greater attendance at California’s post-secondary institutions on the part of those who historically have been underrepresented in California’s post-secondary education population. These groups considered underrepresented include: low income, first generation college-bound and more recently, all students within a district identified as having a lower than average college going rate. Santa Barbara Cal-SOAP currently serves the cities of Santa Barbara, Carpinteria and Goleta and works with 7th through 12th grade students and specifically targets students who may lack the resources and information necessary to properly prepare for post-secondary education. Besides providing students with academic support, Cal-SOAP strives to provide information necessary for families to  make empowered decisions regarding their post-secondary endeavors.

Cal-SOAP works to support Parents/Guardians in becoming more equip and capable advocates for students by increasing their knowledge about college preparation and education and highlights the importance of becoming more involved in the planning and preparation for students’ post-secondary aspirations. Services to Parents/Guardians to foster this empowerment include one-on-one advisement sessions, informative workshops and college preparation presentations. Increasing the knowledge of Parents/Guardians on the steps and resources needed to reach higher education is an important part of creating a team to help navigate the sometimes daunting and intimidating process of the path of achieving a higher education. We will work to answer all of your questions and guide you to the necessary resources to make your transition from high school to post-secondary education as smooth and successful as possible. All advisement, classes, presentations and links to on-campus resources are provided for free, to Jr High and High School community members.

Cal-SOAP has been a part of the Community Action Commission of Santa Barbara County since 2011 and is administered by the California Student Aid Commission.