Learn about the impact of our work & why your support matters.

After completing 10,000 Degrees' program, low-income students realize they can go to college

Summer Institute Inspires and Instructs Students on Steps to College Success

(SAN RAFAEL, CA) – Today, 10,000 Degrees’ held a ceremony honoring 133 high school juniors and seniors who had completed a week-long workshop intensive on getting into college and earning a degree. The Summer Institute is a residential intensive at Dominican University for students who have significant financial need, are the first in their family to attend college and demonstrate the will and drive to pursue higher education.

More than 200 people– students, parents, mentors and supporters – turned out for the ceremony at Angelico Hall on the Dominican University campus. “This program opens the door on a world of opportunity for students who otherwise wouldn’t believe it was possible,” said Kim Mazzuca, 10,000 Degrees’ President. “If they are like previous 10,000 Degrees’ participants, 84% will complete a college degree within six years, compared to a national average of 24%.”

10,000 Degrees partnered with Dominican University and Sonoma State University for the Summer Institute. The program includes an intensive five-day dormitory experience with workshops on the Scholastic Aptitude Test, choosing a college, study habits, researching and applying for financial aid and scholarships as well as college tours to Stanford and the San Jose State campuses. The program continues throughout the year with staff and volunteer mentors assisting the students to complete college applications, meet required deadlines and graduate from high school.

The Summer Institute has such a profound impact on the students that many return to spend the week as Student Advisors. This year 14 alumni committed their time and energy at the Summer Institute to ensure another generation of students would get a chance to go to college. “My goal as Board Chair is to strengthen the organization’s relationship with its alumni,” said Saul Peña, 10,000 Degrees’ alumnus and Chair of the Board of Directors. “I want to encourage these individuals to give back with the same helping hand that was extended to us.” Peña has served on the Board of Directors since 2003 and was named Chair in 2010. With counseling, mentoring and financial support from 10,000 Degrees, Peña was the first in his family to attend college. He graduated from the University of San Francisco in 2000 and is currently Vice President at Dodge & Cox Investment Managers.

The Summer Application Institute receives generous contributions from the Marin Community Foundation, the Donald O. Colllins Foundation, the Fullerton Family Foundation, the Kimball Foundation, the Marilyn Burns Fund, Belvedere/Tiburon Rotary Club, Dodge & Cox Investment Managers, the Vallejo High School Hope Scholarship Fund, Union Bank and donors Thomas and Joanne Peterson and Anne Baele help support the Summer Institute year after year. The Sonoma Valley Teacher Support Network gives in-kind support to help students further their dreams of higher education.

Download a PDF of this press release:

10,000 Degrees has a 30-year track record of providing college access programs, scholarships and support to students in need of all ages. The low-income and traditionally underrepresented students who receive support are typically the first generation of their family to go to college. 10,000 Degrees, formerly Marin Education Fund, has expanded its college planning and preparation programs to Sonoma County and Solano County to serve more low-income students.