As a supplemental component of EOPS, CARE provides educational support services designed for the academically under-prepared, low income, single parent population. Grants and allowances for educationally related expenses such as childcare, transportation, textbooks, and supplies may be awarded as a means of strengthening the retention, persistence, graduation and transfer rates of these individuals.
Students participating in CARE may choose vocational certificate, or license, associate degree or transfer program options. Nearly half of all CARE students seek to transfer to four-year institutions; almost 40 percent choose associate degree objective; and one-tenth desire vocational certificates or licenses.
CARE also extends an important safety net to students who meet EOPS/CARE eligibility criteria but are ineligible for TANF/CAlWORKS cash aid and ancillary services, because they:
- have exceeded the TANF lifetime limit (adults time-limited, but children in family continue to receive cash aid)
- are sanctioned by CalWORKs, or
- are ineligible for CalWORKS cash aid due to prior drug felony conviction.
The CARE safety net offers these students vital resources not offered by other programs for childcare, textbooks, school supplies, transportation and other services while they are enrolled in college educational and vocational programs.
In 1982, the state established the Cooperative Agencies Resources for Education (CARE) program in the California Community Colleges as "a unique educational program geared toward the welfare recipient who desires job-relevant education to break the dependency cycle." CARE was initiated as the first state-funded and system wide program of its kind in the nation. Presently, 110 programs in all 72 districts of the California Community Colleges system offer CARE services annually through EOPS to students who are welfare dependent single heads of household seeking a viable alternative to continued public assistance for personal and family support.