Why Cal State-LA Turns Low-Income Students into Top Earners

The son of Mexican immigrants, Mr. Pla moved to Los Angeles’s Boyle Heights neighborhood at 5 years old. One of five children growing up on the $100 a month his father earned doing construction work in the 1950s, Pla says he always dreamed of attending “the college on the hill.”

That college was California State University, Los Angeles, a mid-tier public university that he credits with his rapid ascent up the income ladder.

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