Super Sunday, the event that represents the California State University's partnership with African-American churches throughout the state has reached nearly one million students and families over the last decade. Every year, more than 100,000 congregants attend Super Sunday as the university and church and community leaders encourage youth to pursue a higher education.

CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, along with campus presidents and other leaders, visited more than 100 churches across the state in an effort to increase the preparation and graduation rates of African-American students from underserved communities.

White addressed the congregation of the City of Refuge Church in Gardena, Calif. on February 26 and continued to offer the support of the CSU community.

"It takes a village to keep our kids in school. Our doors are open," White said. He added that no matter their economic background, as long as a student applies themselves in school, they too have an opportunity to attend college.

"For a student who comes from a family with an income of $70,000 a year or less, we will see to it that 100 percent of their tuition and fees are paid for. Over 255,000 of our students pay zero in tuition and fees, because of our financial aid."

White educated congregants about the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and provided resources about how to get to college. He also reassured parents and students that the CSU is the university of the people, here to serve and support.

"We always call it California State University—but think about it—it's California's State University. As Californians we own it. It is our university and it is for the people who have the willingness and intellect to do the work. Those doors are open for them."

White reminded the congregation about how education affects the economic, social, cultural and educational fabric of families and communities and how CSU campuses are among the nation's best for social mobility. He also reinforced the CSU's commitment of supporting students' pathways to degrees through Graduation Initiative 2025.

"It's going to provide several hundred more faculty members, several thousand more courses, more academic advisers to help our students get their degrees sooner rather than later."

White ended his message by reminding students to work hard in school, go to college, get a job and take care of their families. With the support of the CSU, he urged families, congregants, and leaders to work together in the community to prepare youth for a future in higher education.

Now in its 12th year, CSU Super Sunday is one of many partnerships initiated by the CSU to improve the preparation and graduation rates of students. To support this initiative, the CSU has implemented a user-friendly, online church partnership tool. This tool supports CSU Super Sunday churches and CSU campuses by providing data about schools in local areas and information on college readiness in the community. It also helps church partners work with local schools to improve college readiness in key areas, including math and English.

Click here to learn more about the CSU's African American Initiatives, including Super Sunday and the church partner tool.