The Western Association for College Admission Counseling (WACAC) annual legislative conference, which will be held in Sacramento this weekend, is considered by many to be the opening salvo in a new effort to protect access to school counselors and college affordability.
The keynote speaker, Matt Haney, the Executive Director of the University of California Students' Association, will discuss ways to make sure every child has access to counselors, and role that counselors can play to help students ensure college is affordable once they get there.
Greg McCandless, WACAC's President said:
"Now more than ever, our state needs college counselors to help guide students to career paths, universities and colleges that are harder to get into and more expensive than ever.
"If the state doesn't step up to protect school counselors and affordable higher education, college and high quality careers will fall outside the reach of many California students."
School counseling programs have suffered significantly in the current rounds of budget cuts, despite their proven ability to have a positive impact on students' aspirations, achievements, and understanding of the higher education options available to them, says the organization.
While tuition raises are either pricing young people out of the game or pushing them to take out larger and larger loans, organizations like the WACAC looks to work with elected officials to "breathe new life into an educational system with one foot in the grave".
"We know that our public schools and universities are going to have to do more with less during the state's budget crisis.
"By putting students first and thinking clearly about what programs and services are essential to student access, we can ensure we aren't abandoning our state's promise to help students reach their educational and career goals."
Last year, at the 2011 Western Association for College Admission Counseling conference, Upper School Deans Vanna Cairns and Rose-Ellen Racanelli lobbied to protect California student aid programs such as Cal Grants, writes Emily Khaykin at The Harvard-Westlake Chronicle.
"These conferences are a chance for college counselors and admissions directors to meet with state legislators and lobby for educational initiatives that are important to them."