Message from Patrick O’Donnell, CEO:
Letter to Parents and Students
(Click to read)
Q: What is CAP?
A: The College and Alumni Program (CAP)
is a college success program that provides personalized support and scholarship funding to Wave-Makers interested in attending college after high school. As part of CAP, Wave-Makers are partnered with a college coach and financial services coordinator throughout their college career. These highly skilled professionals support students to successfully earn a bachelor’s or associate degree, transfer to a four-year college, or complete a community college vocational program. In addition, Wave-Makers receive a college scholarship to make college affordable and help them to graduate with minimal debt. And as part of the Wave-Maker network, students will join a community of their peers and have access to career counseling and graduate school advising.
Q: What are the benefits of being in CAP?
A: All Making Waves Academy graduates can be a part of CAP. Once Wave-Makers opt-in to CAP they will receive ongoing, one-on-one support from two sources: a financial services coordinator and a college coach. The financial services coordinator helps students (and their families) with:
- college selection
- financial planning and literacy
- developing budgets
- completing financial aid forms
These support Wave-Makers to graduate from college with limited and manageable debt. CAP’s college coaches guide students through the process of college preparation, academic and personal success in college, and life after graduation. In addition, need-based scholarship support is available to Wave-Makers on an annual basis for up to six years with good standing in CAP.
Q: What changes are you making to CAP?
A: 1.“Opt-In” Approach for MWA Students – We will ask MWA Wave-Makers to “apply” to participate in CAP if they are pursuing a community college or four-year college pathway. This will begin this year (with the current 12th-grade class).
2. Scholarship Adjustment – We are changing the need-based scholarship amount offered from $10,000 to $5,000 per year, based on data showing that MWA Wave-Makers currently receive $5,600 per year on average. This will begin in the 2024-25 academic year (beginning with the current 9th grade graduating class).
Q: Why are you making opt-in a requirement?
A: The purpose of this change is to give students more ownership over the pathway they choose after high school; help students build a full understanding of the CAP program’s benefits, commitments, and responsibilities; and as a result, increase students’ college persistence and success.
Q: Will you still offer an annual scholarship?
A: Yes. The need-based scholarship limit of up to $10,000 per year will still be available for the 18th Wave, the 19th Wave, and the 20th Wave. For the next three years, students will continue to be eligible for an annual scholarship of up to $10,000 per year (based on student need), and this annual amount will be honored for up to six years of college enrollment with good standing in CAP.
Q: When will the annual scholarship support change?
A: During the academic year 2024-25. The 21st Wave (current 9th graders) will be the first class to receive up to $5,000 per year for up to six years based on need, which will assist in covering tuition, books, and related expenses with good standing in CAP.
Q: Why are you reducing the scholarship support?
A: With the help of the CAP Financial Services Coordinators, Wave-Makers are using about $5,600 per year (even though the available need-based scholarship was up to $10,000 per year). Making Waves Foundation realizes it can help more students in need across Contra Costa County by setting a new, aligned limit for Making Waves Academy graduates, while ultimately being able to help more students realize their life dreams.
Q: Will Making Waves Academy help students who don’t join CAP?
A: Yes. This year, we introduced a new programmatic area: Alumni Engagement. We will help support students in all the following pathways:
- Four-year college
- Community college
- Military enlistment
- Job program
- Trade program or apprenticeship
- Current job or job offer
- Gap year program
- Something else
Q: Does CAP help undocumented students?
Q: Will the program opt-in change again in the future?
A: The CAP team is working hard to improve its services for and engagement with students. Over time, it is possible that the program requirements may change to better serve the student community and its desired outcomes.
Q: Will the scholarship amount change in the future?
A: CAP relies 100% on philanthropic support to provide coaching and scholarship support for all its students. While unlikely, it is possible that forces beyond our control may cause a change in the scholarship provided to Wave-Makers in the future.
Q: If I don’t apply right away my senior year, can I apply later?
A: Yes. Wave-Makers will have two opportunities during their senior year at MWA to opt-in to CAP. One will be in August of their senior year and the second one will be in the springtime of their senior year. If a Wave-Maker does not opt-in to CAP during their senior year and would like to join CAP later, they may do so through a re-entry process within the six-year funding limit. Any Wave-Makers who join CAP must complete all program requirements.
Q: Am I required to opt-in to CAP?
A: No. Students who do not want help from CAP will be able to opt-out. However, the team in the College and Career Counseling Center will continue to provide support. And MWA high school graduates may reapply to the CAP program for a period of up to one year from their date of graduation should they want to opt-in to the benefits.
Q: What are the benefits of CAP after I graduate from college?
A: Upon college graduation, CAP alumni will have access to professional networking opportunities and career and graduate school advising through the Wave-Maker alumni network. CAP coaches will continue to support students in four core areas: careers (finding a job after college and pursuing professional growth), academics (earning a postgraduate degree), finances (creating a budget and managing finances), and life skills (navigating life after college).
Q: Can I apply on behalf of my child to get into CAP?
A: No. CAP wants to give students more ownership over the pathway they choose after high school; by personally committing to opt-in to CAP, we believe it will increase students’ college persistence and success.
Q: What support will my child receive in CAP?
A: CAP will continue to provide personalized support and scholarship funding to Wave-Makers interested in attending college after high school. As part of CAP, Wave-Makers are partnered with a college coach and financial services coordinator throughout their college career with good standing in CAP.
Q: How do I apply to CAP?
A: WMs will have the opportunity to “opt-in” to CAP at the beginning of their senior year at MWA. They will receive a one-page opt-in document to sign along with a copy of the Scholarship Opportunity Agreement that outlines all of CAP requirements.
Q: If I need more than $5,000 for college can CAP support?
A: WMs may only receive up to $5,000 in scholarship funds per year starting with the 21st Wave. However, through the robust CAP Senior Year Programming, WMs have the opportunity to work with CAP staff to seek other funding sources such as outside scholarships.
Q: Who can I talk to to learn more?
A: Ivette Chavez, CAP Director of Financial Services
- Direct: 510-243-5212
- Mobile: 510-908-0532
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org