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Black and White Students


To provide information about postsecondary education and financial aid to elementary through high school students while raising their academic achievement levels. In particular, Cal-SOAP is committed to providing services to students from any of the following backgrounds:

  • Low income families

  • Families in which they would be the first to attend college

  • Schools with documented low eligibility or college participation rates or

  • Geographic areas with documented low eligibility or college participation rates

Cal-SOAP Staff

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Assistant Director,
College Advisement

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Associate Director,
College Advisement

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Academic Coordinator



Fiscal Administrator


Assistant to the Director


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Karla Whitaker2.jpg
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Working under the direction of the California Student Aid Commission, the California Student Opportunity and Access Program (Cal-SOAP) has represented the educational community throughout the state since 1978. The program is operated in partnership with the University of California system, the California State University system, local non-profit agencies, and public elementary and secondary school districts.

The San Diego and Imperial Counties Cal-SOAP Consortium is one of the largest of the Cal-SOAP consortia throughout the state. The consortium serves San Diego County as well as Imperial County. San Diego and Imperial Counties Consortium offers a broad range of services tailored specifically to serve both urban and rural populations.

Central Coast Cal-SOAP Consortium

Central Valley Cal-SOAP Consortium

East Bay Cal-SOAP Consortium

Gilroy Cal-SOAP Consortium

Long Beach Cal-SOAP Consortium

Los Angeles Cal-SOAP Consortium

Merced County Cal-SOAP Consortium

Northcoast Cal-SOAP Consortium

Sacramento Cal-SOAP Consortium

San Francisco Cal-SOAP Consortium

San Jose Cal-SOAP Consortium

Santa Barbara Cal-SOAP Consortium

Solano Cal-SOAP Consortium

Southern San Joaquin Cal-SOAP Consortium

Academic Coordinator
Imperial Valley


Francisco Rodriguez



Cal-SOAP Staff


Assistant Director
Imperial Valley


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 Cal-SOAP Components

Through a network of trained staff members and college students, Cal- SOAP offers support and assistance to college and academic counselors, and middle and high school students and their families. While services are typically delivered to nearly 10,000 students per year, the personal attention that has become Cal- SOAP's hallmark is never sacrificed. The program is built around the following components:

College and Financial Aid Information and Advisement

Cal-SOAP manages a team of highly trained college students to serve as the program's primary resource of outreach. These College Readiness Coaches (CRCs) are trained to provide support for school counseling personnel in select San Diego and Imperial County high schools. CRCs at these schools address the needs of students through 1:1 meetings, classroom presentations and in small groups. At these sessions, information is disseminated about college options, the college application process, financial and career options, college essay writing and scholarship search. Additionally, CRCs serve as role models -- those students who have successfully navigated the often choppy waters of college admissions and financial aid. Cal-SOAP also offers numerous Cash for College Financial Aid Workshops each year between October and March to help students and families fill out the FAFSA or Dream Act application. Cal-SOAP also offers workshops to help seniors complete college admission applications.


Academic Enrichment and College Entrance Test Preparation

Cal- SOAP recognizes that academic success in school will provide more options for students after high school. The Academic Coordinators provide free, quality PSAT/SAT/ACT preparation services through workshops, summer programs and classroom programs.


College: Make It Happen (CMIH)

Cal-SOAP believes in empowering parents/guardians and the community to understand the college process early. Through dissemination of information about post-secondary education, both community and parents are encouraged to be informed, be involved and to be inspired to assist students. College Make It Happen (CMIH) is a program that informs middle school parents about A-G requirements, academic achievement and college options; provides college admission, deadlines and financial aid information; and provides parents an opportunity to learn about and discuss parent/guardian education issues, the college search process and more.

 Cal-SOAP Programs

College Advising

Cal-SOAP's advisement component utilizes a network of College Readiness Coaches trained to provide support for school counseling personnel at targeted high schools in the San Diego and Imperial Counties. College Readiness Coaches serve as role models and work with approximately 8,000 high school students in small groups and one-on-one intensive advisement. They share personal college experiences and help students with numerous tasks, including how to complete applications for college and financial aid, a-g requirements, SAT/ACT, scholarship searches, and career exploration.

Contact Claudia Rodriguez and Anna Sorensen for more information about San Diego County. Contact Martha Singh and Daniel Lopez for more information about Imperial County.

College Fair

Cal-SOAP is involved in several College Fairs. Every October, Cal-SOAP typically hotsts its own College Fair which is free to parents, students and college representatives. Numerous colleges and organizations attend and the event also offers breakout sessions on specialized topics. Cal-SOAP will sponsor a College Fair Wed, October 25, 2023 at San Diego Mesa Community College.

Test Preparation

Cal-SOAP test preparation programs provide students with test-taking strategies and encourage students to take all their college entrance exams in a timely manner. However, with many universities adopting admissions policies that are SAT/ACT-blind or SAT/ACT-optional, Cal-SOAP is offering less test preparation due to decreasing demand.

SAT/ACT Preparation Workshops for juniors are offered at various times throughout the year. Check the Workshops section for a list of events. Other test-prep workshops are held by request.

Contact Karla K. Whitaker at for more information.

SWAG (Students With Academic Goals)

SWAG is a 2-week college readiness program typically held in June. It is conducted in partnership with San Diego Community College District, San Diego State University and UC San Diego. The online application is posted each January and has a priority deadline in March/April. Go to the Workshops section of our website for information and a link to the online application. SWAG 2020, 2021 and 2022 were primarily online; Summer 2023 returned to an in-person format, was hosted by San Diego City College, and included field trips to UCSD and SDSU.

Contact Karla K. Whitaker at for more information.

YouSeeYou Mentoring

Cal-SOAP sponsored a pilot program in 2020-2021 that paired volunteer UCSD student mentors with 9th grade students at Madison, Morse and San Diego High. In 2021-2022, we expanded to 9th and 10th grade at our original three schools, plus e3 Civic, Crawford, Lincoln and SDSCPA. In 2022-2023, we included 9th, 10th and 11th graders are our 7 target schools, plus additional ones. In 2023-2024, we included 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th graders from various schools. Check out our website and follow us on FB and IG @youseeyousd. 

Contact Karla K. Whitaker at for more information.


This program and service is provided at the request of schools, teachers, parent groups, or community organizations. Its purpose is to disseminate information to educators and students regarding higher academic achievement and post-secondary opportunities. Topics range from test preparation to college admissions essays to financial aid.

Special Events

Cal-SOAP partners with local colleges and universities for event such as: Dare to Dream College: the African American Experience, Senior Jump Starts, HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) events, Higher Ed Week, etc.

Cal-SOAP Consortium

The San Diego and Imperial Counties Cal-SOAP Consortium

There are numerous California Student Opportunity and Access Program Consortia, each serving a specific geographic area of the state, and all working toward a common goal: providing information about post-secondary education and financial aid, and raising the achievement levels of students from low-income families, from schools or geographic areas with documented low eligibility or college participation rates, or from families in which they would be the first to attend college.

Working under the auspices of the California Student Aid Commision, the Cal-SOAP Consortia represent the educational community: the University of California, California State University, California Community Colleges, independent colleges, public schools and local non-profit agencies.


Andrew "Luke" Menchaca

Board Chair

3375 Camino del Rio South, Suite 100

San Diego, CA 92108

P: 619.388.6547

F: 619.388.6970


W: San Diego Community College District

Jocelyn Pacheco



W: Southwestern Community College

Deborah Kammerer

Vice Chair

9500 Gilman Drive

La Jolla, CA 92093-0075



W: UC San Diego

Jason Maher


P: 619.894.6684


W: San Diego Unified School District


Denise Cabanilla

1398 Sperber Road

El Centro, CA 92243

P: 760.312.6190

F: 760.312.6565


W: Imperial County Office of Education

Kheng Waiche
333 S. Twin Oaks Valley Road
San Marcos, CA 92096
P: 760.750.4854
W: CSU San Marcos

Jessica Murguia
900 Rancho San Diego Parkway
El Cajon, CA 92019
P: 619.660.4422
F: 619.660.4279
W: Cuyamaca College

Courtney Williams
8800 Grossmont College Drive
El Cajon, CA 92020-1799
P: 619.644.7844
F: 619.644.7967
W: Grossmont College

Dawn Cuizon
PO Box 1043
La Mesa, CA 91944-1043 
F: 619.644.8094
W: Grossmont Union High School District

Henry Villegas

720 Heber Avenue

Calexico, CA 92231

P: 760.768.5502

F: 760.768.8435


W: San Diego State University, Imperial Valley

Luis Torres
380 E. Aten Road PO Box 158
Imperial, CA 92251-0158
P: 760.355.6426
F: 760.355.6147
W: Imperial Valley College

Jennifer Park
7250 Mesa College Drive
San Diego, CA 92111
P: 619.388.2632
F: 619.388.5767
W: Mesa College

Jennifer Pena
10440 Black Mountain Road
San Diego, CA 92126
P: 619.388.7357
W: Miramar College

Dr. Richard Lawrence



W: Oceanside Unified School District

Nancy Rohland-Heinrich
11255 N. Torrey Pines Road
La Jolla, CA 92037
P: 858.642.8824
F: 858.642.8749
W: National University

Deanna K. Shoop
1140 West Mission Road/Outreach Services 
San Marcos, CA 92069
P: 760.744.1150 x3752
W: Palomar College

Lexii Ybarra
3300 Lomaland Drive
San Diego, CA 92106
P: 619.849.25717
W: Point Loma Nazarene University

Clarissa Padilla
1313 Park Boulevard
San Diego, CA 92101
P: 619.388.3979
W: San Diego City College

Tanya Bulette
6401 Linda Vista Road, Room 325
San Diego, CA 92111
P: 858.569.5459
W: San Diego County Office of Education

Andrew Mertig

5500 Campanile Drive

San Diego, CA 92182



W: San Diego State University

Brigitte Blazys
3960 Park Boulevard D
San Diego, CA 92103
P: 619.297.4471 x17

Kellie Nehring

5998 Alcala Park

San Diego, CA 92110

P: 619.260.2234

F: 619.260.7508


W: University of San Diego

Alfredo Cendejas

1130 Fifth Ave

Chula Vista, CA 91911

P: 619.585.6045

F: 619.407.4982


W: Sweetwater Union High School District

Tavaris Franklin




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