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April 4, 2017

RCCD Receives 2016-17 Award
For Innovation in Higher Education


The Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education announced yesterday Riverside Community College District as one of the winners of its 2016-17 Award for Innovation in Higher Education. RCCD was one of 14 California community colleges and community college districts that earned the prestigious award.

RCCD will receive $2 million for the Foster Youth Support Network (FYSN), which was recognized for its promising innovations and for increasing completion rates and making college more affordable. In all, $25 million will be awarded among the 14 winners who have changed existing policies, practices or systems to achieve identified state priorities.

The FYSN combines the resources of a committed set of partners consisting of Moreno Valley College, Norco College and Riverside City College; regional unified school districts (Val Verde, Moreno Valley, Riverside, Jurupa, Alvord, and Corona-Norco); and community organizations (John Burton Advocates for Youth, Oak Grove THRIVE, Inspire Life Skills, and iFoster). The program provides intentional structure and collaborative intervention to foster youth beginning in ninth grade.

FYSN has delivered innovative and comprehensive interventions assisting foster youth high school students through their transition to postsecondary education. The comprehensive suite of services is specifically designed to reduce the cost of attendance and shorten the time to completion for current and former foster youth. The strength of FYSN comes not only from individual components, but from the combination of mutually reinforcing interventions that become even more powerful in relation to one another.

"We are honored to be recognized for our Foster Youth Support Network and the collaborative efforts of everyone involved in creating this program," Chancellor Michael L. Burke said. "The FYSN will not only strengthen outcomes for Riverside County’s foster youth, but it will have statewide impact through its robust evaluation and dissemination components."

Riverside County is home to the third largest population of foster youth in California with 4,721 youth in the system, only Los Angeles and San Bernardino counties serve more foster youth. During the 2015-16 academic year, 589 foster youth students were enrolled in courses at Moreno Valley, Norco, and Riverside City colleges. The unified school districts within RCCD's service area reported 1,132 enrolled foster youth in high school that same year.

"I extend my congratulations to all of the winning districts and colleges for earning this prestigious and well-deserved award," California Community Colleges Chancellor Eloy Ortiz Oakley said. "Boosting completion rates and reducing college costs are among the highest priorities for all three higher education systems in California. The schools recognized today are leading the way when it comes to making these twin goals a reality for this state."

The Award for Innovation in Higher Education recognizes innovations created by a college or district, with other partners with a goal to reduce the time it takes students to complete degrees and credentials and or reduce the total cost of attendance for students.

The Committee on Awards for Innovation in Higher Education consisting of the state's director of finance, four members selected by Gov. Jerry Brown, an appointee of the state Senate Committee on Rules and an appointee of the Speaker of the state Assembly review the applications and select the winning campuses.