California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP)


California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP)

The California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) was established by the state legislature in 1978. Today, Cal-SOAP is instrumental in improving the flow of information about postsecondary education and financial aid while raising the achievement levels of low-income, elementary and secondary school students or geographic regions with documented low-eligibility or college participation rates, and who are first in their families to attend college.

Today, Cal-SOAP projects operate in fifteen locations throughout California by consortia made up of secondary and postsecondary schools and community agencies. Cal-SOAP works in cooperation with other intersegmental outreach programs to avoid service duplication.

Current Cal-SOAP projects include: Central Coast (Santa Maria), Central Valley (San Joaquin), East Bay (Oakland and Richmond), Long Beach, Los Angeles, Merced, Northcoast (Eureka), Sacramento, San Diego/Imperial, San Francisco, San Jose, Santa Barbara, South County Gilroy, South San Joaquin, and Solano.

Because each project specializes in serving students within its community, the types of programs and services may differ. However, the projects share the common goal of improving the flow of information about postsecondary education and financial aid while raising achievement levels of targeted students. Some common services provided by the consortia include advising, tutoring, parent outreach, and college awareness workshops.

The Cal-SOAP program is administered by the California Student Aid Commission, with individual projects applying each year for continued state funding. By law, each state allocation must be matched by an equal or higher level of local resources.

Cal-SOAP has extensive intersegmental participation, including:

  • One hundred twenty-six public school districts, from the largest urban districts to small rural districts plus individual high schools;
  • Nine of the ten general campuses of the University of California system;
  • Seventeen of the twenty-three campuses of the California State University system;
  • Forty of the state’s one hundred and thirteen community colleges- including all those in each area in which a project is located;
  • Sixteen of the seventy-one Association of Independent California Colleges and Universities members; and;
  • Fifty-three other community-based organizations.

If you have any questions, please contact:
Paula Fonacier Tang at (916) 464-2646 or email at

Our mailing address:
California Student Aid Commission
Attn: Specialized & Outreach
P.O. Box 419026
Rancho Cordova, CA 95741-9026


Inland Empire Cal-SOAP RFA
The Inland Empire Cal-SOAP RFA application period has now closed

Thank you for your interest in the Inland Empire Cal-SOAP RFA. The Commission is currently reviewing applications. The Commission will notify applicants and proposed grantees on January 24, 2020.

To view the Request for Application: Inland Empire Cal-SOAP RFA Application

The California Student Aid Commission (Commission) announces the opening of the Request for Application (RFA) process for the 2019-2021 Cal-SOAP consortium for the Inland Empire region.

The Commission is accepting grant applications from California based public and not-for-profit universities, community colleges, school districts, county offices of education, community-based organizations, and nonprofit agencies or accredited private vocational or technical schools for the Cal-SOAP program in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.

  • Under this grant, the Commission will provide funding for a grant period beginning February 2020 and ending on June 30, 2021 (the consortium may also apply for the next grant period).
  • The goal of the grant is to build robust partnerships between elementary and secondary schools with institutions of higher education, and other partners to provide services to increase the academic and college preparation skills of eligible elementary, secondary, and college students who are disadvantaged.

All applications for this grant will be due to the Commission by Friday, December 6, 2019.

If you have any questions, please email

Inland Empire RFA Technical Assistance Workshop

On November 15, 2019, Commission staff provided a free technical assistance workshop for the Inland Empire RFA to allow potential applicants an opportunity to ask clarifying questions. To view a recording of this workshop, please click here:

Technical assistance is also available from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily during the application period. Questions can be directed by email to: No technical assistance will be available after 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, or on the weekends and holidays.

Inland Empire RFA Frequently Asked Questions

Questions must be submitted via e-mail to by Friday, October 25, 2019. This will allow time to develop and provide responses in advance of the grant submission deadline. All questions and responses will be posted on this website. Applicants are encouraged to regularly check this website, especially before sending a written question that may already have an answer posted.

Question 1:

Should the proposal request the total amount available $2,102,000, or is there a lower maximum award for each applicant. Will there be multiple awards granted?


Applicants can submit a grant for any amount up to $2.1 million for the entire grant period (February  2020 – June 30, 2021), provided that the grant budget meets all requirements stated in the RFA. These grant requirements include meeting a 1.5 to 1 match for matching funds to state funds and ensuring that 30% of the requested budget is spent on student tutors or peer advisors as stipulated in California Education Code section 69561(m).

CSAC reserves the right to award multiple awards. In the event of multiple awards, CSAC may approve an award amount that is lower than what the grantee originally requested on their application.

Question 2:

We are interested in applying for a Cal-SOAP Consortium grant to serve students in a select number of school districts, but not serving the entire Inland Empire. Can we apply for a grant to serve select target schools and areas?


Yes, applicants may apply for a grant to serve select schools and areas within the Inland Empire. In the RFA grant application, applicants must identify the target schools and school districts that the Cal-SOAP Consortium intends to serve. Further instructions can be found in the “Application Narrative” guidelines listed on pages 30-35 of the RFA. The grant budget must meet all requirements stated in the RFA, including a 1.5 to 1 match for matching funds to state funds and that 30% of the requested budget is spent on student tutors or peer advisors as stipulated in California Education Code section 69561(m).

Question 3:

Is there a template for the partnership agreement described on Page 10 of the grant application?


There is no required template for the partnership agreement. Applicants may use their own format for this agreement as long as it follows the instructions stated on the RFA application:

  • The agreement is signed by a representative from the partner institution.
  • The agreement indicates the partner’s commitment to participate and provide matching funds.
  • The agreement outlines the partner’s responsibilities and services each consortium member agrees to provide and indicates the period of time those services will be provided.

More information can be found on pages 10 and 30 in the RFA.

Map of the 15 Cal-SOAP locations throughout the state

Cal-SOAP Locations

Today, Cal-SOAP projects operate in fifteen locations throughout the state by consortia of secondary and postsecondary schools and community agencies.