While more Latinos are going to college, success rates remain low. Lumina Foundation is funding Latino success initiatives in 10 states. Grants will fund financial literacy training, help with K12-to-college transfer and transition issues and improved developmental courses to move students more efficiently toward credit-bearing courses. Grantees will focus on collecting better data to drive decisions, connecting to the community, working in partnership and evaluating outcomes.
As part of the Goal 2025 movement, Lumina aims to increase the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees and credentials to 60 percent in the next 14 years. Latinos are key to achieving this goal—and to the nation’s economic future.
“Latinos are emblematic of today’s 21st century student,” said Lumina President Jamie Merisotis. “They are largely first-generation college students—many of whom are working adults, with family responsibilities who oftentimes begin their postsecondary education in community colleges. Increasing the access and degree attainment rates of Latinos is critical and our hope is that Latino Student Success will provide catalytic support that can have a positive impact on making all 21st century students more successful.”
Arizona’s Phoenix College will work to strengthen pathways from high school to college and college to the workforce with the goal of a 20 percent increase in students earning a postsecondary credential during a six-year period.
In California, Long Beach City College (LBCC) will focus on the Long Beach College Promise, which aligns high school and college coursework and guarantees placement into courses that will provide pathways to completion for more local students. As part of the Promise, thousands of students will receive a free first semester at Long Beach City College.
Santa Ana College (SAC) will create a guaranteed admission pathway from Santa Ana to California State University-Fullerton (CSUF) and the University of California-Irvine (UC Irvine).
SAC’s ¡Adelante! program serves the 79 percent Hispanic population by employing strategies that include: 1) required completion of SAC admissions and financial aid/scholarship applications by all seniors in the Santa Ana Unified School District (SAUSD); 2) specialized transfer planning with transfer application support workshops, individualized case management and peer mentoring; 3) guaranteed funding assistance to all students with unmet need who complete financial aid applications; and 4) bridging activities once SAC students advance to universities, including direct linkages for academic and financial support.
Projected outcome: Santa Ana expects an 80 percent overall college-going rate among SAUSD graduates, 80 percent of ¡Adelante! Students completing an associate’s degree within three years, and 85 percent of ¡Adelante! Students who transfer to CSUF or UC Irvine will earn a bachelor’s degree within three academic years of transferring.
Miami Dade College (MDC) will work toward an 85 percent retention rate by expanding financial literacy programs, training public school counselors, aligning high school curriculum with college programs and other initiatives.
Southwest Texas Junior College (SWTJC) in Uvalde will develop a four-stage pathway program (Introduction to College, Progression to Degree Attainment, Transfer and Graduation, and Career Success) to improve the graduation and transfer rate of Latino students by at least 15 percent.
Strategies of its Increasing Latino Student Success (ILSS) project include: 1) intrusive student advising upon enrollment with specific, individual guidance in the creation of a degree plan; 2) increased focus on Core Completer Certificates that indicate a student has completed all core requirements for their field of study; 3) revisions to articulation agreements with partnering institutions; and 4) expansion of support services geared toward degree attainment and career readiness. The organizations that will engage in collective impact through action to increase Latino Student Success are: Sul Ross University, Intercultural Development Research Association (IDRA), Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU), The University of Texas at Austin and The Workforce Solutions Middle Rio Grande.
Other participants include Bluegrass Community and Technical College (BCTC) in Kentucky, Central New Mexico Community College (CNM) in Albuquerque, Southwest Tennessee Community College in Memphis and programs in New York City, San Antonio and Georgia.