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A Big Year: Check Out What Calbright Accomplished in 2021!

We had a busy year!

Almost half-way through the 7 year “start-up” period provided in Calbright’s founding legislation, 2021 was a milestone year as we build California’s first fully online, competency-based community college.  

First, we built a whole new kind of education model and infrastructure, and made sure it works. Now, as we enter 2022 and a high-quality growth phase, we are focused on expanding operational capacity, developing new programs, and continuing to bring our mission to life by providing training to adult Californians who have fallen through the cracks of the state’s higher education system. 

Here’s just some of what we achieved in 2021:

Who we serve

Calbright exists to make college education accessible to everyone, especially the working adults and non-traditional students who have a hard time making traditional college classes fit their lives and schedules.  As a result, by the end of 2021:

  • Our students live in 38 counties across California, including 21 of California’s rural counties.
  • 92.3% of Calbright students are 25 years old or older, compared to roughly 40% across the CA Community College (CCC) system
  • 23.7% Calbright students identify as Black or African American, compared to roughly 6% across CCC
  • 56.2% of Calbright students have no degree beyond a high school diploma

How Many We Serve

Calbright’s first year of operation focused on building the organization. Our second year was to launch a “beta-cohort” to test the education we were offering and improve it based on user feedback.  In 2021 we focused on that feedback, made significant improvements, and began to slowly grow enrollment.   

From July 2021 to early January 2022, our student body grew by 77%, and we’re quickly approaching having 1000 active students enrolled. 

Who We’re Partnering With

In the last year, Calbright has:

  • Developed partnerships with regional Workforce Development Boards across California 
  • Partnered with UC Irvine’s School of Education to help us scale evidence-based strategies and practices for supporting strong outcomes for our students
  • Been selected as one of only 9 colleges nationwide, and the only fully online community college, to join the Postsecondary Teaching Collaborative, a partnership with Columbia University and SRI Education.

Where We Go Next

Calbright achieved every milestone for 2021 laid out for us by the legislature. We’re on track to meet the goals set out in our Strategic Vision. If you want to see where we go next, take a look at that plan.

It commits us to continued growth: serving 5,000 students, with 75% of our student body identifying as members of our focus population of adult Californians by the end of 2023.

It commits us to many more programs, having 10 different programs in place to connect Californians to good jobs in thriving and growing industries.

It commits us to student success, with at least 1,200 program graduates, many of whom can be shown to have better jobs as a result of their Calbright education.

There will be more partnerships, more outreach, and everything Calbright learns about online and Competency Based Education will be shared with the other California state colleges, for the good of everyone.

2021 was a challenging and momentous year, and we enter 2022 more confident than ever in our mission.

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