February is Black History Month, but Cal State Long Beach’s Super Sunday was all about the future.
CSULB’s president, Jane Close Conoley, spoke to the congregation at Antioch Church of Long Beach before their service Sunday morning and her message was simple: “college is for you.”
“CSU Super Sunday reaches out to churches statewide as one of many events coordinated by CSU’s African American Initiative, an effort to increase the preparation and retention of African-American students,” according to a press-release from CSULB.
Regardless of an individual’s age or circumstance, they can attend and afford college, Conoley said.
“The federal Pell Grant alone is $900 million a year; there is a lot of money available for you to get your degree,” Conoley said. “Any family that makes under $70,000 annually can have their education fully covered by grants.”
Forty percent of CSULB’s students are the first in their families to attend college, 51 percent of them are on the Pell Grant and just over half of them graduate with zero student loan debt, she said in her presentation. Anyone interested in this financial aid must fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid by March 2. The form is required to qualify for financial aid and has been made easier to complete, according to Conoley.
Conoley also told the congregation about the Graduation Initiative 2025, in which she said more professors are being hired so that there can be more available classes. She hopes this will increase the graduation rates of CSU students.
President Conoley encouraged dialogue between family, friends and all members of the community about furthering their education and career. To help with this, the Minister’s Alliance was formed to provide information and support; there are now 15 local churches that are part of the Alliance. President Conoley also announced that CSULB will match any scholarship that a local church gives to a student to go to CSULB.
Vice President for Student Affairs Carmen Taylor was also presenting at another church, Christ Second Baptist Church in Long Beach for CSU Super Sunday.