Brief: Community College Umoja programs receive additional statewide funding

Black Scholars across California Community Colleges will share millions-of-dollars worth of state funding to expand on Umoja programs.

The LACCD applauded California State Legislature’s recent approval of $5 million in additional state funding for the Umoja Black Scholars program across the California Community College system.

While there is not a detailed plan on how the money will be divided, if distributed evenly across the 55 community colleges in the state that offer Umoja programs, each school will bring in nearly $91,000. The funding will be used to expand on already existing services including Historically Black College University (HBCU) tours and job skill training. The word “Umoja,” meaning unity, comes from the Kiswahili language, spoken on the eastern coast of Africa encompassing Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and South Sudan. The district offers Umoja programs at seven of nine campuses with the exception of Harbor and West Los Angeles College. The mentorship-based program is designed to inspire student involvement while offering support and a sense of unity, promoting the success of Black and other underrepresented students.

“Equity is at the heart of everything we do at LACCD, and there is no better way to ensure that than by making sure valuable programs like Umoja are adequately funded,” said LACCD Board President Steve Veres in a press release. “This additional funding from the legislature allows us to invest in long-term planning that will make sure Umoja programs are here as a student resource for many years to come.”

Students must meet eight requirements to qualify for the Black Scholars program at Valley College, including a minimum of 25 study hall hours per semester as well as having participated in at least two Black Scholars-sponsored events. This includes workshops, leadership activities, club meetings and other events from HBCU tours.

The first Umoja program dates back to 1988 at Chabot College, a community college in Hayward California roughly 16 miles south of Oakland.

Students looking for more information on becoming a Black Scholar should contact Umoja Counselor and Coordinator Elliott Coney at

Marcos Franco

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