Outreach Programs Face Heavy Cuts

The Outreach Program at UC Irvine – directed by the Center for Educational Partnerships (CFEP) – works to help students from kindergarten to 12th grade through 20 different programs. However, due to severe budget cuts, the program faces many difficulties.

Under the direction of Dr. Stephanie Reyes-Tuccio, outreach serves to “develop collaborations that support preparation for an opportunity in higher education.”

The program strives in its mission by aiding students in K-12, community college, and even undergraduates through 20 different programs. But this goal has become much more difficult after the infamous budget cuts.

According to Dr. Reyes-Tuccio, outreach was cut by approximately $200,000. Remotely located on the corner of California and Bison, the CFEP office will be moved to a more inconvenient setting on campus in November due to budget cuts.

Dr. Reyes-Tuccio gave some insight into how these cuts have affected the program.

“We’re funded from multiple sources, part of our funding is from the state budget which is funneled through UCOP and then the campus … we also bring in the majority of our funding from writing grants to organizations such as the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the California Department of Education; we also have a variety of corporate sponsors as well as private individuals,” Reyes-Tuccio said.

Though this may seem like a sufficient number of funding sources for the Outreach Program, Dr. Reyes-Tuccio expressed concern.

“That diversity of funding sources has helped us a little bit to mitigate this current crisis but we are definitely feeling the impact,” Reyes-Tuccio said.

Few programs under Outreach are funded on grants and therefore not impacted, but many other programs such as those dealing with K-12 students have been hurt most.

Dr. Reyes-Tuccio emphasized the lack of one-on-one attention underprivileged students will now receive due to the cuts. She explains that though workshops will still be offered to students, general guidance is all they will receive, especially since school counselors are being laid-off.

The one solution to aid in this problem is the publishing of a new magazine, The Edge, in which specifics for success to a UC are laid out. Still, there is a deep concern for Dr. Reyes-Tuccio since Outreach has to work with fewer students and give each less attention.

“That, for some students, will make the difference between whether or not they apply,” Reyes-Tuccio said.

The demographics of California cannot match with those of admissions, especially because Outreach support is lacking right now and can only get worse.

She also explained the Student Academic Advancement Services (SAAS) was CFEP’s collaborating program which Outreach students looked to for support after getting into a university. She expressed the possibility of these students not graduating because their support in college becomes jeopardized since SAAS was completely cut this summer.

The former director of SAAS, Joe Maestas, also hosted the Summer Bridge Program, which helped students stay on track academically. According to the Dean of Undergraduate Education, Sharon Salinger, “Direct support to students hasn’t been compromised at all.”

She explained that students under Outreach, as well as those with disabilities, will continue to receive aid through LARC tutorials as well as scholarship support for the Summer Bridge Program.

According to Salinger, closing SAAS was the most logical move to make.

“[It] was a more rational thing to do … it seemed like a huge budget saving in a very rational move that will preserve the programs with the least amount of hurt; I’m not saying this wasn’t a lot of hurt … we’re in a world of hurt,” Salinger said.