Black Academic Excellence Initiative

UC San Diego is launching the Black Academic Excellence Initiative to help strengthen support for our Black campus community.  This initiative is targeted toward improving our undergraduate student yield by increasing scholarship funds to ensure that prospective and admitted Black students can pursue higher education at our campus with less apprehension about covering the cost of their education, as well as improving the presence and experience of Black faculty, graduate students and staff.

Benefits to the Campus

The benefits of a diverse teaching and learning environment have been well-documented. Diversity of thought and ideas significantly enriches the academic experience and improves the depth and breadth of the experience for all students. Black students and faculty—groups that have been historically underrepresented at UC San Diego—can benefit from and add to this rich teaching and learning environment. 

As part of its campuswide Strategic Plan, UC San Diego focuses on the quality of student experience as a primary measure of institutional achievement. We contend that increasing the number of Black students at UC San Diego will improve the experience for all students overall.

Why Now?

Of all ethnic groups completing campus climate assessments, Black students, faculty and staff report that they are least satisfied with their experience at UC San Diego. Low numbers of Black peers lead to generally feeling disconnected from campus.

It is important that we acknowledge, and not ignore, the current racial climate in the United States. As one of the world’s best public universities, we must foster an environment of equity, diversity and inclusion that can be seen as a model for our society at large.

The Scholarship

UC San Diego and the Black Alumni Council are partnering to strengthen support of Black students.The Black Academic Excellence Initiative will help grow the existing Black Alumni Scholarship Fund established by the UC San Diego Black Alumni Council in partnership with The San Diego Foundation. Gifts will support privately administered scholarships for admitted Black undergraduates to enhance the campus’s recruitment and yield efforts.

Supporting other Underrepresented Groups

Diversity on campus enriches the academic experience for all students.  That’s why the campus has instituted programs such as the Chancellor’s Associates Scholarship, which provides support for eligible students from local schools and community colleges which serve populations that are underrepresented in higher education. The program also provides scholarships to eligible students statewide, including those enrolled in federally recognized Native American tribes.  In addition, UC San Diego’s Hispanic Scholarship Council raises funds for students of Chicano/a /Latino/a origin.  

Ensuring Students Thrive

Resources are in place to help ensure that our admitted students thrive in a more welcoming environment.  Increasing access and affordability is merely a starting point—support services can assist students to perform up to their capabilities.

We anticipate that success of the Black Academic Excellence Initiative will be realized by an increased rate of enrollment of Black students; improved retention, persistence and graduation rates of scholarship recipients; increased level of engagement and participation in related support programs; increased presence of Black faculty; and an improved climate for diversity for all. 

How to Give

You can give directly to the UC San Diego Black Alumni Scholarship Fund and related funds to support UC San Diego Black students at the San Diego Foundation. Or you can start a similar donor-advised fund that will impact the lives of Black students, faculty and staff at UC San Diego. Please contact Danielle Valenciano, The San Diego Foundation Director of Scholarships at (619) 235-2300 or

If you have questions about supporting the Black Academic Excellence Initiative, contact UC San Diego Director of Development John Duca at (858) 534-8305 or