Press Releases

10,000 Degrees Partners with the Sharks Foundation and Tech CU Support College Success Program

The Sharks Foundation And Tech CU Awards 10,000 Degrees With A $25,000 Grant To Fund Its ‘Money Matters: Budgeting For College’ Program For San Jose Students

San Rafael, Calif. (January 25, 2024) – 10,000 Degrees, an organization dedicated to empowering students to enter and graduate college in eight Bay Area counties and Utah, is pleased to announce it has received a $25,000 grant from the Sharks Foundation and Tech CU to help support the organization’s ‘Money Matters: Budgeting For College’ program for San Jose students. ‘Money Matters’ is an interactive financial aid literacy curriculum designed by 10,000 Degrees to help high school students from low-income backgrounds learn about college affordability to develop and achieve their postsecondary goals.

The Sharks Foundation and Tech CU $25,000 Community Assist Grant will help fund the 10,000 Degrees ‘Money Matters’ program for the 2023 – 2024 academic year. Additionally, the Sharks Foundation and Tech CU will engage 10,000 Degrees students by volunteering in upcoming ‘Money Matters’ workshops at 10,000 Degrees partner high schools in San Jose’s East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD).

“10,000 Degrees is incredibly grateful for the support we have received from the Sharks Foundation and Tech CU, and for their commitment to our students and programming,” said Kim Mazzuca, 10,000 Degrees president and CEO. “At 10,000 Degrees, our goal is to help students enter and graduate college. However, transitioning from high school to college is not easy for many students, particularly for first-generation college students or students who have been historically underserved. Through our programs and services, we strive to inspire our students to broaden their college aspirations, in addition to providing them with the necessary resources to attend and successfully complete a college education without any loan debt.”

“The Sharks Foundation is committed to closing the educational equity gap for low-income students in the Bay Area, particularly in East San Jose, through our organizational objective to put Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging at the forefront of all we do,” said Jenné Johnson, Sharks Foundation senior manager. “The ‘Money Matters’ program is an essential tool for high school students to adequately prepare for managing their money through and after college, and set them up for success for a lifetime of responsible spending. The way the program provides financial literacy through fun and interactive lessons resonated with us, and we are proud to, alongside Tech CU, provide 10,000 Degrees with this grant to further their mission and support their efforts.”

“10,000 Degrees’ programs and resources have proven to help our students develop new skills and broaden their college aspirations. However, many students worry about the growing cost of a college education, and that can sometimes negatively impact academic performance and graduation rates,” said Glenn Vander Zee, superintendent for the East Side Union High School District and 10,000 Degrees South Bay advisory board member. “Financial literacy programs such as ‘Money Matters’ can help students alleviate some college-affordability concerns, while also providing students with the necessary resources to help them enter and successfully complete college.”

10,000 Degrees ‘Money Matters: Budgeting for College’ Program in San Jose

10,000 Degrees’ programs are meeting a need for college access support for underserved students in San Jose’s East Side Union High School District (ESUHSD), the third largest high school district in California. At the ESUHSD, 45% of all students are socio-economically disadvantaged and 45% graduate high school without meeting the requirements for applying to a 4-year college. The 10,000 Degrees ‘Money Matters’ program provides ESUHSD students an opportunity to learn how to make budgeting decisions for college in a fun and engaging way.

The 10,000 Degrees ‘Money Matters’ program is an ongoing initiative that takes place during the academic year to help students at partner high schools in San Jose and other Bay Area high schools. The objective of the ‘Money Matters’ program is to help students from low-income backgrounds better understand their college financial aid options and to help students come to the realization that post-secondary education can be attainable.

At the ‘Money Matters’ workshop events, participating high school students are tasked to juggle set budgets and flexible pricing for college-related expenses, including books, transportation, technology, meal plan, housing, social life, and personal care. At the workshops, students are given a mock college acceptance letter (e.g., “Sharks University”) with tuition costs and a financial aid package, and then rotate between nine stations facilitated by 10,000 Degrees staff and volunteers. At each station, students are challenged to make difficult budgeting decisions, including being encouraged to spend more than they should on products and services they may or may not need. Students are also given advice on financially responsible decision-making, as well as the option of seeking scholarships and financial aid at the 10,000 Degrees station.

Sharks Foundation and Tech CU Events

To kick off the Sharks Foundation’s January Education campaign, volunteers from Team Teal and Tech CU met on January 16 to assist 10,000 Degrees by assembling ‘Money Matters’ workshop materials for approximately 500 students. The volunteer event at Tech CU headquarters in San Jose, included remarks from Sharks Foundation, Tech CU and 10,000 Degrees representatives, as well as an official Community Assist Grant check presentation.

In addition to funding and volunteerism, the Sharks Foundation and Tech CU collaborated with the San Jose Barracuda to donate 200 game tickets to students (from 10,000 Degrees partner ESUHSD high schools) to attend the San Jose Barracuda hockey game on January 24 at Tech CU Arena in San Jose.