The College Access Project for African Americans (CAPAA) is a research project of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. In 2002, the Ford Foundation funded this project to examine the current status of, challenges to, and strategies for increasing access in California’s higher education institutions for African Americans.

What does CAPAA do?

  • Examines the implications of anti-affirmative action policies (such as Proposition 209)
  • Determines how pre-existing practices influence higher education access and achievement of African American students
  • Creates a repository of research studies on access and equity issues
  • Maintains a network with community-based leaders, educational administrators, researchers, parents, and policymakers in California
  • Produces and disseminates information, knowledge, and strategies useful for improving educational access and the academic achievement of African American students


  • Using research to enhance educational access and academic achievement
  • Creating the conditions for stakeholders to dialogue about access and equity issues as well as creating an action plan,
  • Creates a repository of research studies on access and equity issues
  • Promoting knowledge sharing between the advocacy/ research community and stakeholders, particularly those individuals interested in new models of youth development and college preparation

Targeted Groups:  College-going African Americans

  • Advocacy groups
  • Researchers
  • Parents
  • Stakeholders (such as community-based organizations, legislators, lobbyists, and educators)

CAPAA Research Products

Forums and Policy Development Goals

  • Use participatory research and an inquiry-based process to expand awareness about educational access and equity
  • Develop a communication channel that would allow community leaders, researchers, parents, and education administrators to dialogue about their experiences and knowledge of access and equity issues
  • Forums for debating, developing, and sharing solutions on the ways to enhance access, achievement, and opportunities in higher education
  • Framework and tools for organizing, developing, and assessing a research and programmatic agenda
  • Policy briefs

Access and Equity Issues


  • Understand college preparation at the secondary school level and to collect multi-level data on student achievement, academic organization, and resources available for teaching and learning


  • Data analysis using surveys, focus groups and in-depth interviews with school personnel, parents, and students
  • Review of public information on the school context and students available through the California Department of Education and the California Postsecondary Education Commission
  • Reports focusing on how students implement strategies and a variety of resources to actualize college aspiration



  • Collect and organize knowledge, information, and data relating to affirmative action education policies, and college access and equity


  • Best practices in college preparation
  • Historical record of affirmative action
  • Pointers to relevant research, resources, and programs on the Web
  • Reviews and abstracts

Parent Needs Assessment


  • Conduct a preliminary inventory of strategies parents are aware of and use to support college preparation


  • Survey research
  • New forms and practices of college preparation

Research Team

Walter Allen – UCLA Professor, Sociology –

Darnell Hunt – Director, Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA and Professor, Sociology –

Tyrone Howard – UCLA, Assistant Professor, Graduate School of Education and Information Studies –

Ana-Christina Ramon – Assistant Director & Associate Researcher –